So, here we go:"Sales revenue up 24% to £4.4 billion as a result of good underlying volume growth and higher precious metal prices in the first quarter Sales excluding precious metals up 10% at £924 million with good volume growth despite slowdown in some end markets Profit before tax and amortisation of acquired intangibles up 20% to £144.9 million Underlying earnings per share up 17% to 48.4 pence Johnson Matthey's balance sheet remains strong. Gearing (net debt / equity) reduced by 1.4% to 51.2% Dividend up 5% to 11.1 pence"AND"Assuming pgm prices and exchange rates remain at current levels, and with a drop in global car production of around 11% compared with last year, we would expect underlying profit before tax for the second half of Johnson Matthey's financial year to be 5% - 15% below the level achieved in 2007/08. On that basis we would expect underlying earnings per share for the year as a whole to be in the range 90p to 94p (1% - 5% up on 2007/08) The group has a strong balance sheet and ample headroom under its long term funding arrangements to meet future needs Commenting on the results, Neil Carson, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey said: 'Johnson Matthey performed well in the first half of 2008/09. With global car sales expected to fall in the second half we have taken action to reduce costs and protect our margins in Emission Control Technologies. The outlook for our other catalyst businesses remains good underpinned by environmental legislation and concerns over energy security. The long term drivers for our business remain firmly in place. With our strong balance sheet and investment in new technology the group is in a good position to weather the current economic downturn.' Gearing is pretty high but the company does seem to anticipate not follow - a sign of good management and controls which many a banker could follow methinks.I'm still in.Nick
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