Johnson Matthey, Royston's big employer, reports pre-tax profit up 25 per cent to 180.
Booming sales put JM profits up by 25%
The precious metals company, now better known for its world lead in catalytic converters, saw sales rise by 53 per cent to 5.9 billion, boosted by huge price hikes in platinum and palladium, both used in catalysts.
Sales excluding the two 'p's rose 16 per cent to 977 million. Shareholders will get a final dividend of 16.3p making a total dividend for the year of 23.3p, an increase of 15 per cent.
Catalysts and chemicals division increased sales by 76 per cent to 1,503 million, although excluding the influence of world price rises in platinum and palladium the increase was 14 per cent to 565 million. The division's operating profit rose 17 per cent to 98.9 million.
Despite a slowdown in worldwide vehicle sales (an increase of just one per cent), the autocatalyst market grew by six per cent as a result of tightening standards on car and truck exhaust emission.
To help meet this demand, JM has spent 10 million on an additional catalyst plant at Royston, as well as creating new plants in India and China.