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19 December, 2006 - 12:47 By Staff Reporter

JM to use proceeds from sale for buys

Johnson Matthey, the world leading Royston-based chemicals firm, is to use the £153 million sale of its Ceramics division to fund new bolt-on acquisitions in the catalysis, precious metals and fine chemicals sectors.The approach for the Spanish-headquartered business has been made by private equity investment fund, Pamplona Capital Partners I, LP and is expected to be completed by the beginning of March next year.

Neil Carson, chief executive officer of Johnson Matthey, said: “The sale of the Ceramics division represents a further step in our strategy of focusing the group on its core activities in catalysis, precious metals and fine chemicals.”

JM’s Ceramics division is a leading global supplier of raw materials and intermediate products to the tile and sanitary-ware industries.

It has a presence in all the major geographical regions with core manufacturing facilities in Spain, Italy, UK, Brazil, USA, Malaysia, India and China.

The business employs approximately 670 people. In the financial year ended 31 March 2006 the Ceramics division had sales of £182.2m and made an operating profit of £21.3m. For the six months ended 30 September 2006, divisional sales hit £90.1m and operating profit £10.2m.

The disposal, which is conditional upon regualtory approval in Germany, Spain and Portugal, will give rise to a gain of approximately £30m before costs.

The proceeds from the disposal of this division will be used to buy back shares and fund bolt-on acquisitions.

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