The metals and catalyst group made pounds 65.4m before tax compared with pounds 73.8m in 1993, after a pounds 6.7m loss from selling an Italian business and a pounds 5m restructuring provision for a ceramics joint venture being set up with Cookson Group.
But Matthey announced an 11 per cent dividend increase to 11.4p a share. Gordon Thorburn, executive director, said this reflected strong underlying performance, with a 7 per cent rise in earnings per share before the exceptional items.
David Davies, chairman, wants to set a 20 per cent return on net assets as a minimum, compared with 18 per cent last year, and said the company aimed to grow big enough to join the FT-SE 100. It is number 130 in the FT-SE 250.
Operating profits of the platinum catalyst business rose 4 per cent to pounds 28.2m as strong demand in North America was offset by a depressed European car market. But Mr Thorburn said European car sales were up 5 per cent in recent months and the company was more optimistic.
The shares fell 28p to 558p.Reuse content