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Johnson Matthey trading is better than expected

JOHNSON Matthey, the speciality chemicals maker, yesterday said that underlying profit in its third quarter was up 20 per cent on last year thanks to reduced costs.

The firm, which makes a third of the world’s catalysts for cars, said trading conditions had stabilised with sales excluding precious metals up some nine per cent.

Profits were boosted by a fall in debts and interest costs, Johnson Matthey added.

But revenues and profits at its precious metals divisions were lower than this time last year on the back of falling demand.

Johnson Matthey said results for the full year would be ahead of current market consensus which stands at around £242m.

“Johnson Matthey performed well in the third quarter as we saw the beginnings of recovery in many of our key markets,” chief executive officer Neil Carson said.

“During the same period last year the group’s trading conditions deteriorated significantly. In the comparable period this year our markets have been more stable.” Its shares closed down two per cent at 1,478p.