Johnson Matthey hoists dividend and sets 2040 net zero target
Global science and chemicals company Johnson Matthey, which has extensive operations in the East of England, saw its UK share price dip 44p to 3,106p a share after reporting substantial losses for the year to March 31.
While revenue was up 8 per cent to £15.673 billion, pre-tax profit dipped 22 per cent to £238m. The reported revenue increase was driven by higher average precious metal prices.
Higher admin expenses and major impairment and restructuring changes were blamed for the dent in profits.
Confident it has the right growth strategy in place to build out of the pandemic, JM has backed its faith by proposing a final dividend of 50p a share. Added to the interim dividend of 20p, this hoists the final payout to 70p a share – a 26 per cent increase on the prior year.
Chief executive Robert MacLeod said: “Our employees have done a tremendous job adapting to new ways of working through COVID-19, whilst still delivering for our customers.
“It is thanks to their hard work that we have delivered a robust set of results which, in the context of a pandemic, is especially pleasing and testament to their efforts.
“Following a challenging first half, we recovered strongly in the second half helped by a strong recovery in our end markets and higher precious metal prices.
“We are delivering our efficiency programme, tightly managing working capital and generating cash from our more established businesses which we are continuing to invest for growth, particularly in battery materials and hydrogen. In the year we made good strategic progress.
“We began entering into partnerships to advance the commercialisation of eLNO and secured new customer wins in Fuel Cells. Our investment in sustainable technologies builds on our existing expertise and will enable the transformations in transport, energy, decarbonisation of industry and a circular economy that the world needs to reach net zero – transformations that are at the heart of achieving our vision of a cleaner, healthier world for today and future generations.
“It is in this context that we've launched our new sustainability goals which will result in Johnson Matthey being a net zero business by 2040. Our sustainability agenda relates not only to the way we run our own business, but underpins our strategic focus on the current and future technologies we sell to our customers.
“As the world aims to build back greener as we come out of the pandemic, our technologies have never been more relevant. We are already seeing this in the continued recovery of our key end markets and our strong start to the current year.
“Whilst our markets may remain uncertain as the pandemic continues to affect parts of the world differently we nonetheless expect low to mid teens growth in underlying operating performance in the coming year, before the anticipated benefit of currently strong precious metal prices.”