November 21, 2017 / 8:04 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Johnson Matthey reports 2 pct fall in H1 operating profit

(Adds detail, background)

LONDON, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Johnson Matthey, a leader in catalysts for car emission control devices, on Tuesday reported a 2 percent fall in first-half operating profit, following one-off charges related to restructuring.

The company has come under pressure from expectations that growth in electric vehicles will erode its market for technology to control emissions.

Earlier this year, it announced a change in its structure to improve efficiency and a shift towards battery materials.

On Tuesday, it reported a 15 percent rise in revenue and said sales growth at constant rates this year was still expected to be around 6 percent.

Earnings per share (EPS) fell 5 percent to 87.9 pence but the company raised its interim dividend by 6 percent to 21.75p.

Chief Executive Robert MacLeod said the results marked “a strong start to the year”.

“We are building a stronger platform from which we will achieve our goal of attractive returns to shareholders over the medium term: mid to high single digit EPS growth,” he said.

The company has invested 30 million pounds ($37 million) to increase lithium iron phosphate capacity for batteries by 50 percent.

On Tuesday, it said “significant progress” had been made, a pilot project was ongoing and it was working with six customers.

It recorded a one-off restructuring and impairment charge of 18.5 million pounds ($24.54 million), of which cash costs totalled 4.2 million pounds.

For the full-year SUCH charges are expected to be between 50 million and 65 million, of which over half will be cash.

$1 = 0.7540 pounds Reporting by Barbara Lewis in London and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Jason Neely

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