Johnson Matthey reported a rise in first-half profit on Wednesday as it said its full-year operating performance would be towards the upper end of its guidance.
In the six months to 30 September, pre-tax profit increased 19% to £244m on revenue of £7.1bn, up 10% from the same period a year ago. Earnings per share pushed up 21% to 106.1p and the interim dividend was lifted by 7% to 23.25p a share.
The specialty chemicals company said its clean air division continues to grow strongly, driven by its diesel share gains in light duty Europe, which are coming through as planned. In addition, the heavy duty business is also performing well, underpinned by strength in the Class 8 truck market in the US.
The group's efficient natural resources division saw good sales growth and margin improvement, while the health arm traded in line with its first half expectations.
Chief executive Robert MacLeod said: “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.
“We now expect full-year operating performance towards the upper end of our guidance of id to high single digit growth.”
At current foreign exchange rates, Johnson Matthey expects translational forex movements for the year to the end of March 2019 to benefit sales and underlying operating profit by £1m and £2m, respectively.