Emission control systems provider Johnson Matthey (JMAT) tops the FTSE 100 leader board on Thursday despite posting a 22% drop in full year pre-tax profit as restructuring costs hit profitability.
Revenue advanced 6% in the year to 31 March to £10,714 million, boosted by stronger sales in the emission control technologies division.
Chief executive Robert MacLeod believes this was a 'robust performance' in light of challenging conditions and restructuring, which he claims will benefit the business over the next year. The company slashed £34 million off its operating cost base but at the short-term expense of a £141 million restructuring hit, mainly for process technologies although this also included taking an impairment charge of parts of its business.
Ona divisional breakdown, Johnson Matthey reckons its emissions control technology business will be ahead year-on-year, befitting from Euro 6b legislation for light duty vehicles and a recovery in Western European truck production. Less positive is its process technologies arm, which has struggled against lower licensing income and the slumping oil price. Its underlying operating profit plunged by more than a third.
But investors rightly took cheer from dividends, which the company upped by 5% to 71.5p, discounting the 150p per share special payout in February 2016 following the sale of the firm's Research Chemicals unit for £256 million.