Johnson Matthey sees an uncertain recovery for the automotive markets

FTSE 100-listed Johnson Matthey yesterday said first-half pre-tax profits fell by a fifth and the world&rsquo;s largest supplier of catalytic converters warned that prospects for a recovery in global auto sales were uncertain.<br /><br />&ldquo;The timing of a return in consumer confidence and the impact of the expiry of car scrappage schemes will be key factors in driving demand in the months ahead,&rdquo; the platinum refiner said. &ldquo;Looking forward, visibility of global vehicle sales remains limited.&rdquo;<br /><br />Johnson Matthey said it anticipates its full-year results being in line with market expectations.<br /><br />Underlying pre- tax profit for the six months to end September fell to &pound;114.4m from &pound;144.9m in the same period last year as revenue fell 18 per cent.<br /><br />Analysts at Killik &amp; Co said: &ldquo;Although the numbers were in line with expectations and management expects full-year results to be in line, there remains a lack of visibility over the outlook.&rdquo;<br /><br />Market expectations for full-year pre-tax profit range between &pound;222.5m and &pound;239m.