Johnson Matthey

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Johnson Matthey plc
Type Public limited company
Traded as LSEJMAT
Industry Chemicals
Precious metals
Founded 1817 (London)
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Key people Tim Stevenson (Chairman)
Robert MacLeod (Chief Executive)
Products Precious Metals, Industrial catalysts
Revenue £11,155.2 million (2014)[1]
Operating income £448.2 million (2014)[1]
Net income £338.7 million (2014)[1]
Employees 12,000 (2014)[2]

Johnson Matthey plc (LSEJMAT) is a British multinational chemicals and precious metals company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.


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 ancillary supplies, such as silver solder and flux, which it manufactured.

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.[4] 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[5] (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.[6]) 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.[7] Most of JMB's business was subsequently sold to Mase Westpac.

In 1989, worldwide annual turnover of Johnson Matthey was £1.43 bilion, with industrial plants in Evere (Belgium), Wayne (Pennsylvania) and Kogarah (Australia).[8]

In 2008 Johnson Matthey acquired Argillon, a business specialising in catalysts, for €214 million.[9] In December 2008 US subsidiary Johnson Matthey Inc was fined $3 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.[10]

In October 2010 Johnson Matthey acquired InterCAT, a supplier of fluid catalytic cracking additives for the petroleum refining industry, for $56.2 million.[11] Also in 2010 Johnson Matthey opened a new £34 million European emission control catalyst plant in Macedonia, which leveraged its manufacturing technology to produce catalysts for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles.[12]


The company's head office is on Farringdon Street, central London. The principal operating facility in the UK is in Royston in Hertfordshire, with other facilities in Swindon, Edinburgh, Brimsdown in Enfield, Billingham in Teesside and Clitheroe in Lancashire, and a large facility in Germiston, South Africa. The UK Technology Centre is based at Sonning Common in Oxfordshire. In the US its principal site is at West Deptford, New Jersey.

Johnson Matthey is organised into three divisions:[13]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Results for the year ended 31 March 2014". Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "About us". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Johnson Matthey History". Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  4. ^ Portrait of an Old Lady: Turmoil at the Bank of England By: Stephen Fey ISBN 0-670-81934-4
  5. ^ "The Truth about Lloyds". The Truth about Lloyds. Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Captain Moonlight: Offstage drama at the Mermaid The Independent, 12 December 1993
  7. ^ When was the last nationalisation? BBC News, February 2008
  8. ^ "Nuova fabbrica di catalizzatori per autovetture della Johnson Matthey". Difesa Ambientale (in Italian) (Editoriale PEG) XIV (3): 12. April 1990. 
  9. ^ "Johnson Matthey to buy Argillon for €214 million". Reuters. 18 April 2011. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  10. ^ "Utah gold and silver refinery sentenced for Clean Water Act violation". Retrieved 18 April 2011. 
  11. ^ "Johnson Matthey PLC To Acquire Intercat, Inc". Reuters. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  12. ^ "Johnson Matthey Opens Major New European Emission Control Catalyst Plant in Macedonia". Business Wire. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  13. ^ "Johnson Matthey Divisions". Retrieved 18 April 2011. 

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