Johnson Matthey's interim H1 pre-tax profits to the end of September rose 15% to over GBP120m as benefitted from growing demand for heavy duty diesel (HDD) catalysts and particulate filters.

The group predicted that second-half profit growth would be in line with the first half on the back of new auto catalyst capacity and HDD sales to truck makers in the US. Metals trading earnings growth will be less strong because of a particularly strong equivalent period in 2006.

Commenting on the results, Neil Carson, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey said:

"Johnson Matthey has delivered another period of strong growth in the first half of 2007/08. Despite a weak dollar, profit before tax increased by 15% on the back of double digit sales growth in all three divisions.

"Prospects for the second half remain encouraging. Heavy duty diesel will benefit from a full six months' sales to US OEMs. New capacity to meet growing demand for autocatalysts and particulate filters in Asia and Europe will come on stream. Platinum group metal prices are set to remain buoyant. We expect earnings growth in the second half to be similar to that achieved in the first."