LONDON Jan 30 Catalyst maker Johnson Matthey
appointed a new CEO on Thursday and was positive on its
second-half outlook after reporting a 16 percent rise in
third-quarter profit thanks to tighter vehicle emissions rules
Neil Carson, CEO for a decade, will step down at the British
speciality chemicals company after annual results in June and
Robert MacLeod, who joined the company as finance director in
2009, will succeed him.
"We like what Robert has done as a finance director. He is
known for being a straight-talking, focused individual so I have
no doubt the business will be run tidily under his stewardship,"
Liberum Capital analyst Adam Collins, said.
Carson will remain on the board until the end of September
to ensure a smooth handover.
Johnson Matthey, the world's leading manufacturer of
catalysts to control car emissions, said its outlook had
improved, boosted by a better than expected performance at its
Emission Control Technology (ECT) division, which focuses on
autocatalysts and represents more than half of group sales and
almost 40 percent of operating profit.
It now expects second-half results to be slightly ahead of
the first half's 212.9 million pounds underlying profit before
tax, excluding the impact of the end of a long-standing platinum
buying contract and other arrangements with Anglo American
"Our guidance is ticking up a little bit in the second half
because the ECT division is a bit stronger that we thought but
that's partially offset by weakness in precious metals," finance
director MacLeod said.
Analysts had expected the second half to be broadly in line
with the first half.
Underlying profit before tax for the third-quarter to Jan.
30 stood at 96 million pounds ($159 million), up 16 percent from
82.7 million pounds in 2012/13 and slightly ahead of analysts'
The company benefited from higher demand for products to
meet the new Euro VI vehicle emission legislation that came into
force on Jan. 1 in Europe.
"The figures were slightly better than the market expected
but there was an expectation that these would be solid results.
If there are changes they will be modestly upwards," Collins
Sales, excluding precious metals, were 12 percent higher at
708 million pounds.
Sales of the Precious Metal Products division, which makes
up about 16 percent of group sales, fell slightly to 95 million
pounds from 97 million as a result of weak precious metal
Shares in the company were down 0.5 percent by 1030 GMT at