Weaker sales hurt Johnson Matthey profit

CHEMICALS firm Johnson Matthey saw profits plunge over the third quarter, due to lower sales in its precious metals products division.

Underlying pre-tax profits sank 19 per cent to £84.3m over the third quarter, it said yesterday.

The precious metal product division, which refines and fabricates metals such as platinum, posted a seven per cent drop in sales to £128m, in part due to lower volumes from Anglo American Platinum.

Earlier this month, Amplats said it would restructure its business, which involves closing several mines in South Africa.

Meanwhile, the group’s emission control technologies division, which makes catalytic converters for cars, was hit by weak car sales in Europe and Japan. The arm posted a six per cent drop in sales to £346m over the three months to December.

The FTSE 100 firm added that it expected the group’s performance in the second half to be similar to the first half. “In a difficult market environment during the quarter, trading across the group was challenging,” Johnson Matthey said in a statement yesterday.

Its shares closed 4.24 per cent down at 2,306p.