Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT) shares jumped on Wednesday as the speciality chemicals group reported a strong rise in first-half profit and said it expects its full-year operating performance to be towards the upper end of its guidance.
The FTSE 100-listed catalytic convertors maker saw its pre-tax profit increase by 19% to £244mln for the six months to 30 September, up from £205mln a year earlier, as revenue rose by 10% to £7.11bn, up from £6.48bn.
The company said its clean air division continued to grow strongly, with sales up 11%, well ahead of global vehicle production, driven by double-digit growth in both light and heavy duty diesel.
In addition, the group said its Battery Materials business is progressing towards commercialisation, with a pilot plant operational and it is on track for design and construction of its first commercial plant, to be located in mainland Europe, with production continuing to be expected in 2021/22
Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey’s chief executive commented: "We had a good half, delivering double-digit sales and operating profit growth. I am pleased with the progress we are making on implementing our strategy and delivering solutions for our customers through the application of our strong science and technology.”
He added: "We now expect full-year operating performance towards the upper end of our guidance of id to high single-digit growth."
The company raised its interim dividend by 7% to 23.25p per share, up from 21.75p.
In early morning trading, Johnson Matthey shares topped the FTSE 100 gainers board, up 6.3% at 2,953p.