Fall in Johnson Matthey profits

Suzie Neuwirth
JOHNSON Matthey yesterday announced a 13 per cent decline in profits for the year, due to a disappointing performance in its precious metals division.

The FTSE 100-listed chemicals and metals company – which makes catalytic converters – said pre-tax profits had fallen to £354.9m for the year ended 31 March 2013, down from £409.3m the previous year. Precious metals profits plunged 27 per cent to £147m, due to low metal prices and production issues.

However, the company’s share price jumped over six per cent on the news as the decline was smaller than expected.

Recovery in the US auto market meant that catalyst sales in North America rose 12 per cent to £331m this year.

New European legislation comes into force from 1 January 2014 requiring new catalysts for vehicles, which the company says will increase sales in the sector three or four-fold. Upcoming legislation in China and India is also expected to boost growth.

But an amended contract with Anglo Platinum will weigh down on future revenues. “Overall, we expect that the group will make steady progress in 2013-14 notwithstanding the loss of revenue from Anglo Platinum,” said chief executive Neil Carson.
The firm’s share price closed up 6.34 per cent at £27.50 yesterday.