This excerpt taken from the ICI 6-K filed Mar 21, 2007.
Presentation of Financial Statements. Special items include items relating to both continuing and discontinued businesses. ICI thus believes that the detailed disclosure of special items and of profit measures both before and after special items enables shareholders to obtain greater understanding of the overall and underlying performance of the Group. Profit measures before special items should be considered in addition to, and not as a substitute for or as superior to, measures of financial performance including special items.
Management judgment is required to determine which items of pre-tax expense or income are classified as special items, with consideration being given to size, frequency of incidence and nature, particularly in respect of their relation to the underlying trading performance of the Group and/or the reporting segments. Specific items which have been treated in these financial statements as special include the following:
ICI uses the term trading profit, defined as operating profit before special items, as the key measure of profit performance by its businesses at all levels within the Group. Trading profit is also the primary profit measure used in other internal and external performance measures such as trading margin and return on capital employed.