British chemicals company Johnson Matthey Plc reported a rise in profits for the first half as revenue grew 28 percent on increased levels of activity in all of its major markets and higher platinum group metal prices.
The group, which lifted its interim dividend by 13 percent to 12.5 pence, expects results for the second half to be broadly in line with those of the first half.
Johnson Matthey said it benefited from good growth in most of its markets, especially catalysts for light duty vehicles in North America and Asia and a steady recovery in catalysts for heavy duty diesel.
For the six months ended Sept. 30, pretax profit increased to 144 million pounds from 109.5 million pounds. Underlying pretax profit grew 44 percent to 164.3 million pounds.
Revenue rose to 4.6 billion pounds ($7.3 billion) from 3.6 billion pounds. Sales, excluding the value of precious metals rose 25 percent to 1.1 billion pounds, with sales at Environmental Technologies division up 29 percent and Precious Metal Products division up 25 percent from last year. Fine Chemicals' sales rose 8 percent.
Since October 1, 2010, the price of platinum has averaged around $1,700/oz.
In the first quarter, the group saw sales rise by over 30 percent at its Environmental Technologies and Precious Metal Products divisions.
Keith Bowman, analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said ahead of the half-yearly report, A strong performance is expected, driven by recovery in the automotive markets and strength in the platinum price. Market consensus opinion currently denotes a strong hold ahead of the results.
Shares of Johnson Matthey closed Tuesday's trading session at 1,840 pence on the London Stock Exchange.