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Johnson Matthey PLC Rises On Strong First-Half Performance

Johnson Matthey (LSE: JMAT), the multinational chemicals and precious metals company, published its half-year results for the six months to 30 September 2013 this morning, and its share price is currently up 3.5%.

Underlying pre-tax profit  increased 13%, to £212.9m, on total revenue that surged 31%, to £6,411m, with sales (excluding precious metals) rising 13%, to £1.5 billion. The increase in sales was led, the company says, by a “strong performance” from the its Emission Control Technologies and Process Technologies operations. It also reported “good progress” in its New Businesses division, led by its Battery Technologies business.

Earnings per share were up 24%, at 84.9p, and the company is increasing its  interim dividend by 10%, to 17p per share.  Johnson Matthey’s forward estimated yield for 2014 is around 2.5%.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Neil Carson said:

Johnson Matthey delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2013/14 driven primarily by good growth in Emission Control Technologies, where global car and truck production increased, and good demand for Process Technologies’ products. Precious Metal Products, which had a poor first half last year, recovered and overall volumes in its Services businesses increased.

“The group’s results in the first half of the year exceeded our expectations. In the second half, the group’s long standing arrangements with Anglo American Platinum Limited (Anglo Platinum) will expire on 31st December 2013 and this will impact profitability in the fourth quarter. At the same time we should benefit from tighter European truck legislation but it is difficult to assess the extent of the pre-buy in the first half and its effect on volumes in the second half. We therefore expect that if the impact of the loss of the Anglo Platinum contracts is excluded, Johnson Matthey’s performance in the second half will be in line with that of the first six months.

At its current level of 3,203p Johnson Matthey’s share price is up almost 35% so far this year, and 46% up on the same time in 2012.

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> Jon doesn't own shares in Johnson Matthey.