Metal prices help Johnson Matthey gain

City A.M. Reporter
JOHNSON Matthey, the world’s largest supplier of catalytic converters, said annual profit rose on the back of higher vehicle sales and precious metal prices.

However, the FTSE 100 company said it expected Japan’s earthquake to hit car production temporarily in the first half, even though this would likely be reversed by the second half.

It also said that higher rare earth prices would adversely impact the business, particularly in the first half of the current year.

It expects the impact of higher rare earth raw materials – used in its catalyst production -- on its results this year to increase around three or four times from £5m in the year to the end of March.

Underlying pre-tax profit rose 36 per cent to £345.5m for the group, which also markets, distributes and refines precious metals.

It took an impairment and restructuring charge of £71.8m relating to the closure of a manufacturing facility in Brussels and the sale of its Vertec manufacturing business.

“Heavy exceptional items and amortisation (£13.2m) were more than we and the market were expecting. We see this as a little disappointing,” said Credit Suisse.