Fleet News

Chemicals company sees bright future for fuel cells

JOHNSON Matthey, the chemicals and precious metals group, has forecast significant profits increase from fuel cell production by the middle of the decade as political pressure grows for alternatives to petrol and diesel powered cars.

In the six months to September 30, 2000, Johnson Matthey's profit before tax and exceptional items rose by 40% to £86.0 million. Operating profit was up 23% to 87.7 million. Chris Clark, chief executive, announced that a major investment programme in fuel cell technology was well positioned to benefit the company from initial markets for fuel cells.

Clark said: 'This was a period of increased activity in fuel cells. Together with our key suppliers we are developing processes for the manufacturing of our membrane electrode assemblies, other key catalytic components and prototype fuel processors.

'Taking into consideration that demand for residential and office-based fuel cells power generation is also accelerating because of strains on traditional power supplies, we have organised our fuel cell activities into a stand-alone business unit within the division ready for significant growth over the next few years.'

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