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Johnson Matthey reports 12% jump in revenues

FTSE 100 specialty chemicals group Johnson Matthey has seen its revenues jump by 12 per cent, thanks in part to the weak pound, carrying the company to a 19 per cent pre-tax profit.

Currency effects added £721m to Johnson Matthey’s £12bn revenues in the year to 31 March, and £69m to its operating profits, which totalled £513m.

Sales excluding precious metals – a measure which strips out fluctuating commodities prices – rose by 13 per cent to £3.5bn in 2017, while underlying profit before tax rose 15 per cent to £482m. When the currency effects are removed, sales grew by 6 per cent and underlying operating profit grew by 4 per cent.

The company expects this level of sales growth to continue in the coming year, it said.

The firm has announced a 5 per cent increase in its ordinary dividend per share, paying out 75 pence per share.

Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey chief executive, said the results were “in line with our expectations” in what he called “a year of further progress”.

Johnson Matthey is the world’s largest manufacturer of catalytic converters and has been trying to expand into battery technology in expectation of a long-term shift in the motor industry.

However its battery materials division saw a “significantly weaker” second half of the year due to changes in electric vehicle tax incentives in China, which “impacted the market for lithium iron phosphate battery materials”, the firm said.