UPDATE 1-Johnson Matthey Q3 profit dips in tough markets

Wed Jan 30, 2013 2:32am EST

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LONDON Jan 30 (Reuters) - Platinum refiner Johnson Matthey PLC saw profits dip in the third quarter because of lower sales of catalysts for vehicle exhaust systems in the high-value diesel category in Europe and weaker demand in Japan.

The British group said it saw no upturn in Europe and Japan for its catalytic converter business in the new calendar year, but the weaker markets should be mitigated by slightly more promising prospects in North America.

It said on Wednesday that it still expected the group's performance in the second half to be similar to the first half.

Sales, excluding precious metal sales, were down 2 percent at 635 million pounds ($1 billion) in the third quarter, while underlying pretax profit was down 19 percent at 84.3 million pounds, mainly because of the change in mix in its catalysts business and lower sales in its precious metals unit.

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