Matthey profits soar but warns on year ahead

Suzie Neuwirth
CHEMICALS firm Johnson Matthey yesterday warned on flat profits this year, due to adverse foreign exchange movements and the loss of a contract with Anglo Platinum, sending its share price down one per cent.

A 17 per cent jump in pre-tax profit to £406.6m for the year ended 31 March and a 10 per cent dividend increase were not enough to cheer investors, on Neil Carson’s final day as chief executive after 10 years in the role. The FTSE 100 company said revenue rose four per cent to £11.15bn.

“I am pleased to report that Johnson Matthey performed well [last year], particularly in emission control technologies,” said Carson.

The ECT division benefitted from new EU laws on emissions, that require different catalytic converters.

Sales increased by 13 per cent to £1.6bn and underlying operating profit was up 25 per cent at £203.6m.

The firm said its light duty vehicle catalyst sales in Europe “outperformed the market” and grew by five per cent to £571m. Its catalyst business in Asia was boosted by the introduction of similar regulations.

A longstanding deal with platinum miner Amplats, which meant Johnson Matthey could buy the metal at a discount, came to an end last year. The two firms have agreed a new contract but it will not involve a discount.

Shares closed at 3,225, down 33p.