Johnson Matthey

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Johnson Matthey
Public limited company
Traded asLSEJMAT
FTSE 100 Component
Precious metals
Founded1817; 202 years ago (1817)
(London, United Kingdom)
HeadquartersLondon, United Kingdom
Key people
Tim Stevenson (Chairman)
Robert MacLeod (Chief Executive)
ProductsEmission control catalysts, industrial catalysts, absorbents, process technologies, fine chemicals, active pharmaceutical ingredients, chemical products, medical device components, colours, coatings, fuel cell technology, battery technology
Revenue£12,031.0 million (2017)[1]
£493.2 million (2017)[1]
£384.6 million (2017)[1]
Number of employees
12,214 (2017)[2]

Johnson Matthey (LSEJMAT) is a British multinational speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company headquartered in the United Kingdom. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and has been a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index since 2002.


Johnson Matthey traces its origins to 1817, when Percival Norton Johnson set up business as a gold assayer in London.[3] In 1851 George Matthey joined the business and its name was changed to Johnson & Matthey.[3] The following year the firm was appointed Official Assayer & Refiner to the Bank of England.[3] The company had branches in the cities of Birmingham and Sheffield to supply the jewellery and silverware and cutlery trade with raw materials and ancillary supplies, such as silver solder and flux, which it manufactured.[4]

In 1874, the company was commissioned to manufacture the kilogram reference standard, made from 90% platinum and 10% iridium, and held in the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (International Bureau of Weights and Measures).[5]

Beginning in 1957, the company published a journal, Platinum Metals Review.[6]

In the 1960s Johnson Matthey formed a subsidiary, Johnson Matthey Bankers (JMB), which took its seat in the London Gold Fixing. In the early 1980s the bank expanded its activities outside the bullion business and started making high-risk loans. Bank assets more than doubled between 1980 and 1984, and loans became concentrated to a few borrowers, including Mahmoud Sipra and his El Saeed group, Rajendra Sethia and ESAL Commodities, and Abdul Shamji.[7] The quality of some of these loans turned out to be worse than expected, such as the £21 million lent to Abdul Shamji of Gomba Holdings[8] (the then owner of Puddle Dock and the Mermaid Theatre in London). The size of the loans grew to exceed the level of the bank's capital. (Shamji was sentenced to 15 months in prison for lying about his assets during a High Court inquiry into the bank's collapse.[9]) Because JMB was one of five members of the London Gold Fixing, Bank of England officials were worried that if it became insolvent confidence in the other bullion banks would be undermined, and panic could spread to the rest of the British banking system. To prevent a wider banking crisis the Bank of England organized a rescue package on the evening of 30 September 1984, purchasing JMB for £1.[10] Most of JMB's business was subsequently sold to Mase Westpac.[11]

In 1989, worldwide annual turnover of Johnson Matthey was £1.43 billion, with industrial plants in Evere (Belgium), Wayne (Pennsylvania) and Kogarah (Australia).[12]

In 2008 Johnson Matthey acquired Argillon, a business specialising in catalysts, for €214 million.[13]

In October 2010 Johnson Matthey acquired InterCAT, a supplier of fluid catalytic cracking additives for the petroleum refining industry, for $56.2 million.[14] Also in 2010 Johnson Matthey opened a new £34 million European emission control catalyst plant in Skopje, (Macedonia), which leveraged its manufacturing technology to produce catalysts for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles.[15]

The company was one of the first FTSE 100 companies to produce an integrated annual report and won the Best Annual Report in the FTSE 100 in the ICSA Hermes Transparency in Governance Awards in 2012, which recognised how sustainability issues were ‘described in a way that clearly links them to business strategy and performance, rather than leaving them in a silo or on the sidelines.’[16]

From 2014 the Platinum Metals Review journal has been renamed the Johnson Matthey Technology Review.[17] That same year, the company was shortlisted for Business in the Community's Responsible Business of the Year Award for its Sustainability 2017 programme.[18]

In 2015, Johnson Matthey sold its gold and silver refining operations to Asahi Holdings, Inc., a Japanese firm.[19]


Johnson Matthey is organised into five divisions:[20]

  • Emission Control Technologies manufactures catalysts for light and heavy duty vehicles and stationary exhaust emission control and is a supplier of catalytic systems, including Continuously Regenerating Trap (CRT) systems for controlling heavy duty diesel vehicle pollution, which the company commercialised in 1995 and for which it won a MacRobert Award for in 2000.[21][22]
  • Process Technologies supplies catalysts, licenses technologies and delivers other services to the petrochemical, syngas, oil refining and gas processing industries.[23]
  • Precious Metal Products manages, distributes, refines and recycles precious metals and fabricates products using precious metals and related materials.[24] Products include advanced coatings for glass manufacture,[25] catalysts for the production of nitric acid[26] and medical device components.[27][28]
  • Fine Chemicals supplies active pharmaceutical ingredients and catalysis and chiral technologies to the pharmaceutical, fine chemical and agrochemical industries. It is also a worldwide supplier of research chemicals under the Alfa Aesar brand name.
  • New Businesses targets new opportunities in areas adjacent to the company’s current businesses and which align with its core technology competencies.[29] This division includes Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Johnson Matthey Battery Technologies.[30]

Environmental performance[edit]

The Sustainability 2017 programme aimed to halve the company’s carbon intensity from a 2007 baseline of 294 tonnes CO2 equivalent / £ million sales to 147 tonnes. In 2013/14 Johnson Matthey reported a reduction in carbon intensity to 149 tonnes CO2 equivalent / £ million sales.[31] According to the company's documents, as a result of its nitrous oxide abatement catalysts more than 64 million tonnes CO2 equivalent of N2O has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.[32]

In December 2008 US subsidiary Johnson Matthey Inc was fined $2.25 million for a felony violation of the United States Clean Water Act, after admitting to violating the act at its Salt Lake City precious metals refining facility.[33] The violation related to the selective screening of wastewater samples for compliance analysis. Following the charge Johnson Matthey Inc contributed $750,000 to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and entered a three-year compliance agreement with the US Environmental Protection Agency.[34]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results 2017" (PDF). Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  2. ^ "About us". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Johnson Matthey History". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  4. ^ "History". Johnson Matthey Metal Jointing. Retrieved 25 March 2016.
  5. ^ SMith, F.J. (1973). "A story of precision Fabrication". Platinum Metals Review. 17 (2): 66–68.
  6. ^ "Review: A Noble Rival to Gold". in Reed Business Information (17 February 1983). New Scientist. Reed Business Information. pp. 450–. ISSN 0262-4079.
  7. ^ Portrait of an Old Lady: Turmoil at the Bank of England By: Stephen Fey ISBN 0-670-81934-4
  8. ^ "The Truth about Lloyds". The Truth about Lloyds. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  9. ^ Captain Moonlight: Offstage drama at the Mermaid The Independent, 12 December 1993
  10. ^ When was the last nationalisation? BBC News, February 2008
  11. ^ "Rescued bank sold by Britain". New York Times. 11 April 1986. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  12. ^ "Nuova fabbrica di catalizzatori per autovetture della Johnson Matthey". Difesa Ambientale (in Italian). Editoriale PEG. XIV (3): 12. April 1990.
  13. ^ "Johnson Matthey to buy Argillon for €214 million". Reuters. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Johnson Matthey PLC To Acquire Intercat, Inc". Reuters. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Johnson Matthey Opens Major New European Emission Control Catalyst Plant in Macedonia". Business Wire. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
  16. ^ Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (2012). Awards Report 2012 – Delivering transparency, changing behaviour (PDF) (Report). Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators. p. 5. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  17. ^ "Johnson Matthey Technology Review". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 10 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Johnson Matthey - Sustainability 2017". Business in the Community. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  19. ^ "Johnson Matthey Completes Sale of Gold and Silver Refining business to Asahi". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  20. ^ "Divisions – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  21. ^ "Emission Control Technologies – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  22. ^ "The Continuously Regenerating Trap – CRT – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  23. ^ "Process Technologies – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  24. ^ "Global PGM Refining - Platinum group metals refining by Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Precious Metal Refining. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  25. ^ "Johnson Matthey Noble Metals - Glass - Glass". Johnson Matthey Noble Metals. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Johnson Matthey Noble Metals - Nitro Technologies - Nitro Technologies". Johnson Matthey Noble Metals. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  27. ^ "Johnson Matthey Medical , JMMedical". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Precious Metal Products – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  29. ^ Johnson Matthey Plc (18 June 2014). Annual Report & Accounts 2014 – Sustainable Technologies for Today and for the Future (PDF) (Report). Johnson Matthey Plc. p. 41. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  30. ^ "New Businesses – Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  31. ^ "Six Sustainability Targets - Johnson Matthey". Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  32. ^ "Johnson Matthey Noble Metals:platinum, precious metal alloy". Johnson Matthey Noble Metals. Retrieved 15 November 2014.
  33. ^ "Utah gold and silver refinery sentenced for Clean Water Act violation". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  34. ^ Johnson Matthey Plc (2009). Regulatory Matters – Sustainability Report 2008/09 (Report). Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 5 November 2014.

External links[edit]