Johnson Matthey raises 1H 2005 profits

Johnson Matthey PLC, the UK-based specialty chemicals and precious metals group, improved profits in the 1H 2005 and pledged to deliver top-line growth in the 2H 2005.
Pretax profit in the six months…

Johnson Matthey PLC, the UK-based specialty chemicals and precious metals group, improved profits in the 1H 2005 and pledged to deliver top-line growth in the 2H 2005. Pretax profit in the six months to September 2005 rose 20% to GBP 106.4 million, at the upper end of the forecast range of GBP 98.4 – GBP 108 million and slightly better than the consensus figure of GBP 104.4 million. Excluding restructuring and disposal costs, pretax profit increased 3% to GBP 106.4 million. Revenues, however, fell 7% to GBP 2.28 billion due to lower precious metal trading volume. Excluding precious metals, they increased to GBP 9% to 637 million. The drivers for growth were the precious metal products and ceramics business, offsetting weakness in the pharmaceutical materials division. “The outlook for the 2H is for increased top-line growth driven by the launch of new products for heavy and light duty diesel vehicles, and growth in Asia”, said chief executive Neil Carson. For the full year, analysts expect profits to reach GBP 216.4 million, up from 204 million previously. Johnson Matthey raised interim dividends to GBP 0.091 pence per share from GBP 0.087 pence previously.