Amid mounting anxiety over Britain's pensions crisis, chemical and paint manufacturer ICI has reported a funding deficit for its UK pension fund of GBP657 million, according to media reports.

Reports have suggested that, in seeking a solution to its problems, the company is looking to close its Teeside-based specialty chemicals business, Uniqema.

The company will hope the sale of the business, which is expected to attract bids of between GBP200 million to GBP400 million, will help it to plug the hole in its pension fund.

The company is said to have embarked on a four-year program with the aim of clearing the deficit.