Precious metals drive Johnson Matthey profits

24-08-2006

Johnson Matthey has revealed a rise of eight per cent in annual operating profits to £219.8 million, largely driven by healthy precious metal trading.

The metals and catalyst materials refiner's precious metal division's profits were up by 20 per cent, with the company attributing the rise to vigorous market trading conditions and growth in manufacturing businesses.

Revenue during the year ending March 31st increased three per cent to £4.63 billion, while share earnings were up nine per cent.

However, despite strong platinum prices and encouraging growth of new products, the profits of the company's pharmaceutical material business fell by 15 per cent to 33.8 million.

But the firm's chief executive, Neil Carson, still predicted a healthy future for the company, largely due to significant growth in the heavy duty diesel catalyst market due to increased vehicle sales in China and India.

"We expect growth in earnings to be stronger in the second half of the current year than in the first driven by increasing demand for our technology leading diesel catalyst product," he said.

"Johnson Matthey performed well last year and prospects for future growth are very encouraging. Our investment in new capacity to meet customer demand will continue and we remain optimistic about prospects for future performance," Mr Carson concluded.

The chief executive also forecasted a recovery in the firm's pharmaceutical interests, with platinum businesses expected to remain strong throughout the year.



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