Johnson Matthey chief executive Neil Carson bowed out after 10 years today with a set of annual results that had shareholders throwing back the bed covers and groping for their iPads and smartphones.
Continued growth across the Cambridge UK speciality chemicals company helped to offset some of the adverse impact triggered by the loss of commission revenue from Anglo Platinum and foreign currency headwinds.
Profit takers rubbed their eyes then filled their boots as profit before tax rose 17 per cent to £406.6 million on revenues four per cent higher to almost £11.2 billion or the year to March 31. Earnings per share were 27 per cent ahead at 167.7p and the dividend also headed north – up 10 per cent to 62.5p a share.
That was despite a 12 per cent increase in investment on R & D to £152m.
Johnson Matthey is the world's largest manufacturer for vehicle autocats and the profit ahead of expectations was boosted by tighter European rules on emissions for heavy goods vehicles.
Carson was understandably thrilled by strong across-the-board growth in its major divisions and he leaves the business in great shape.
He said: “The emission control technologies sales were particularly pleasing with sales up by 11 per cent; despite the Anglo Platinum situation and foreign currency impact we expect the group’s performance in 2014-15 to be broadline in line with the last 12 months.
“As Johnson Matthey approaches its third century of operation we continue to apply our expertise in advanced materials and technology to innovate and improve solutions for customers in new and existing markets.
“We are committed to investing in R & D, our manufacturing capabilities and the development of our people to support the future growth of the business.
“It has been a real privilege to have been chief executive for the last 10 years of a wonderful company full of talented and dedicated people. As I step down today, I am confident that – as a world-leading speciality chemicals company – Johnson Matthey is well positioned to deliver long-term growth for its shareholders through the creation of value adding sustainable technologies.”