Johnson Matthey publishes Q3 trading results 2016/17

Johnson Matthey published its quarter three trading results on 2 February 2017.

Overview of Trading

Trading for the group in the third quarter was in line with our expectations. Sales of £876 million were 2% up on last year supported by good demand across many of our markets. 

First half trends in ECT continued in Q3, with good growth in Europe and Asia. 

As expected, Process Technologies benefited from a stronger order book and Precious Metal Products' sales grew well due to improved demand and more favourable average precious metal prices. 

Fine Chemicals was impacted by lower sales in North America, particularly of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatments, although these should improve in Q4. 

New Businesses had a weaker quarter, partly as a result of phasing of orders in Battery Technologies.

The group's underlying profit before tax was ahead of last year and our outlook for the full year remains unchanged.

Emission Control Technologies (ECT)

Sales in ECT were up 2% at £549 million with strength in Europe and Asia offsetting expected weakness in North America.

Light Duty Vehicle

Our light duty vehicle (LDV) catalyst business grew well with sales up 6% to £348 million, and broadly in line with the 8% increase in global car production. 

European LDV catalyst sales grew strongly, supported by a continued shift to more advanced NOx control systems for diesel vehicles as we move towards the introduction of real world driving emission standards from September 2017. 

Sales in Asia also grew strongly, boosted by increased vehicle production in China as consumers took advantage of the tax incentives in place on smaller-engined cars. 

In North America, the less favourable customer and product mix in the first half continued and, as a result, our Q3 sales were lower than last year.

Heavy Duty Diesel

Sales in our heavy duty diesel (HDD) catalyst business were 3% lower at £201 million due to continued weakness in North America. As expected, lower levels of production of large (Class 8) trucks continued to weigh on our North American HDD catalyst sales although this was partly offset by some new business in the quarter. European HDD catalyst sales were impacted by phasing of orders but remain on track overall, whilst sales in Asia grew significantly, supported by strong truck production levels in China.

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