Shares slide at Chemical maker despite growth

Josh Martin
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SPECIALIST chemicals firm Johnson Matthey had one of its poorest days on the London Stock Exchange in more than two years yesterday. Despite telling the market it expects profits to rise in full year profits, the update fell short of some expectations.

It reported a one per cent gain in third-quarter earnings, the company said in a trading update yesterday.

Johnson Matthey, whose products are used in chemical manufacturing, joined other similar companies citing the oil price drop as a hindrance on investment in new and upgraded chemical plants.

The shares fell as much as 5.8 per cent, the steepest intraday fall since November 2012. Shares ended the day’s trading down 3.2 per cent to 3,385p. However, the price remains one of Johnson Matthey’s highest and is up 3.43 per cent on a year ago.

The London-listed firm, the world’s largest maker of autocatalysts, posted third-quarter pre-tax profit of £96.5m.

Group sales, excluding the loss of a £10m commission contract with Anglo American Platinum, were seven per cent higher than the previous year at £745m thanks to a rise in new business and the sale of emissions-reducing car technologies.

The company said its car technologies unit continued to perform well with sales nine per cent ahead of target, at £435m compared to the previous year figure of £397m. Operating profit was also ahead in the business unit. However, its precious metals unit sales dropped.