EU emissions rules help boost Matthey profit

CATALYST maker Johnson Matthey beat its own expectations with a 13 per cent rise in profit yesterday, lifted by increased car and truck production globally, and tighter European rules on emissions due to come into force in January.

The speciality chemicals firm said underlying first-half profit before tax totalled £212.9m, at the higher end of analyst expectations and outperforming the group’s own forecast, which had warned of the impact of summer closures at European car plants.

Much of the jump came from its key Emission Control Technologies business, which accounts for more than half the group’s sales and almost 40 per cent of group operating profit.

Underlying operating profit in that division rose 16 per cent in the six months to the end of September, thanks to growth in sales across regions. Johnson Matthey forecast a second half performance broadly in line with the first six months of its financial year. That excludes the impact of ending long-standing platinum buying arrangements with Anglo American Platinum in the new year, which had included a discount.