Royston’s biggest employer says a 13 per cent profit rise in the first half of this year “exceeded their expectations”.

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Johnson Matthey PLC registered pre-tax profits of £202.1million for the first half of the 2013/14 tax year, up on the previous period’s figure of £180.1million.

The precious metals firm, who are based in Orchard Road, Royston, had seen profits fall during the previous tax year, and Neil Carson, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Johnson Matthey delivered a strong performance in the first half of 2013/14 driven primarily by good growth in Emission Control Technologies, where global car and truck production increased, and good demand for Process Technologies’ products.

“Precious Metal Products, which had a poor first half last year, recovered and overall volumes in its Services businesses increased.”

Revenue was up an impressive 31 per cent, from £4,892million to £6.411million.

The firm employs approximately 1,700 people in Royston, and though Mr Carson is urging caution as they look forward to 2014, he is hopeful Johnson Matthey will continue to perform well.

He said: “The group’s results in the first half of the year exceeded our expectations. In the second half, the group’s long standing arrangements with Anglo American Platinum will expire on 31 December 2013 and this will impact profitability in the fourth quarter.

“At the same time we should benefit from tighter European truck legislation but it is difficult to assess the extent of the pre-buy in the first half and its effect on volumes in the second half.

“We therefore expect that if the impact of the loss of the Anglo American Platinum contracts is excluded, Johnson Matthey’s performance in the second half will be in line with that of the first six months.”

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