Johnson Matthey

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Johnson Matthey plc
Company typePublic limited company
Precious metals
Founded1817; 207 years ago (1817)
(London, England)
HeadquartersLondon, England, UK
Key people
  • Patrick Thomas (chair­person) Edit this on Wikidata
  • Liam Condon (CEO) Edit this on Wikidata
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
RevenueDecrease £14,933 million (2023)[1]
Increase £406 million (2023)[1]
Increase £276 million (2023)[1]
Number of employees
12,666 (2023)[1]
Footnotes / references

Johnson Matthey plc is a British multinational speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company headquartered in London, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index.


Early years[edit]

Johnson Matthey traces its origins to 1817, when Percival Norton Johnson set up business as a gold assayer in London.[4] In 1851 George Matthey joined the business and its name was changed to Johnson & Matthey.[4] The following year the firm was appointed official assayer and refiner to the Bank of England.[4] 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.[5]

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), and copies of it for international distribution. Johnson Matthey similarly also produced the International Prototype Metre and its copies.[6]

20th century[edit]

Beginning in 1957, the company published a journal, Platinum Metals Review.[7]

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.[8] 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[9] (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.)[10]

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 organised a rescue package on the evening of 30 September 1984, purchasing JMB for £1.[11] Most of JMB's business was subsequently sold to Mase Westpac.[12]

21st century[edit]

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, (North Macedonia), which produced 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]

In 2014, the company was shortlisted for Business in the Community's Responsible Business of the Year Award for its Sustainability 2017 programme.[17]

In 2015, Johnson Matthey sold its gold and silver refining operations to Asahi Holdings, Inc., a Japanese firm.[18]


Johnson Matthey is organised into four main businesses: Clean Air, Catalyst Technologies, Hydrogen Technologies, and Platinum Group Metals Services.[19]

Factories in Europe[edit]

In August 2018, Johnson Matthey started the construction of a new factory in Gliwice in Poland. The plant covers an area of approximately 23,000 m2 and is costing about PLN 450 million. The project will create about 400 new jobs. The plant consists of two production lines which will manufacture a range of catalysts.[20]

In 2009, Johnson Matthey opened a catalyst manufacturing plant in North Macedonia.[21] It was expanded in 2012[22] and went on to become the largest exporter in North Macedonia.[23]

Environmental performance[edit]

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.[24] 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.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Annual Report 2023" (PDF). Johnson Matthey Plc. Retrieved 13 February 2024.
  2. ^ "Johnson Matthey PLC overview - Find and update company information - GOV.UK". Companies House. 11 April 1891. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  3. ^ "Terms of Use". Matthey. Retrieved 5 September 2023.
  4. ^ a b c Reece, Damian (25 March 2012). "Spark-plug maker Johnson Matthey is a breath of fresh air for all of us". Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  5. ^ La-Niece, Susan (1993). Metal Plating and Patination: Cultural, technical and historical developments. Butterworth-Heinemann. p. 222. ISBN 978-0750616119.
  6. ^ Smith, F.J. (1973). "Standard Kilogram Weights: A Story of Precision Fabrication" (PDF). Platinum Metals Review. John Matthey. 17 (2): 66–68 – via Ingenta Connect.[self-published source]
  7. ^ "Review: A Noble Rival to Gold". in New Scientist. Reed Business Information. 17 February 1983. pp. 450–. ISSN 0262-4079.
  8. ^ Portrait of an Old Lady: Turmoil at the Bank of England By: Stephen Fey ISBN 0-670-81934-4
  9. ^ "The Truth about Lloyds". The Truth about Lloyds. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  10. ^ Captain Moonlight: Offstage drama at the Mermaid The Independent, 12 December 1993
  11. ^ When was the last nationalisation? BBC News, February 2008
  12. ^ "Rescued bank sold by Britain". The New York Times. 11 April 1986. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  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 - Sustainability 2017". Business in the Community. Retrieved 16 November 2014.
  18. ^ "Johnson Matthey sells its gold and silver refining business". The Daily Telegraph. 15 December 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  19. ^ "Johnson Matthey Sector Structure". Johnson Matthey. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  20. ^ "Johnson Matthey zbuduje w Gliwicach fabrykę katalizatorów. Praca dla 350 osób". Retrieved 10 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Matthey to build catalyst plants in Macedonia, U.S." Reuters. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  22. ^ "Johnson Matthey expands Macedonia plant for emission control catalysts". Hydrocarbon Processing. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  23. ^ "Automotive Components Remain A Key Driver of Macedonian Exports Despite the Pandemic". China CEE Institute. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  24. ^ "Utah gold and silver refinery sentenced for Clean Water Act violation". Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  25. ^ "Utah Refinery To Pay $3M in Criminal Pollution Case". Law 360. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 3 March 2019.

External links[edit]