JM simplifies portfolio, targets GBP 200m in H2 tech sales

Liam Condon. Source: Johnson Matthey.

May 26 (Renewables Now) - Johnson Matthey Plc (LON:JMAT), or JM, today presented a new strategy with a simplified business portfolio that is focused on four businesses, one of them dedicated to hydrogen technologies.

After concluding an in-depth review of its operations, the British speciality chemicals and sustainable technologies company has decided to focus its energy and resources on four areas to prepare for “tremendous new growth opportunities” that will open up as a result of the global pursuit of decarbonisation.

More specifically, JM’s activities will revolve around PGM Services, Clean Air, Catalyst Technologies and Hydrogen Technologies. The company views PGM Services as its enabling business and the backbone of the group, supporting the three other divisions. It is already the world’s largest recycler of platinum group metals (PGMs).

“As part of the strategic review I have considered the full range of options and concluded that focusing on our core strengths offers a much clearer path to value creation than simply splitting up the group. JM has tremendous synergies across the group that can drive competitive advantage and create significant additional value. By using our deep understanding of PGM chemistry, catalysis and process design, JM can be a market leader in sustainable technologies across multiple industries,” stated Liam Condon, who became the company’s CEO in March 2022.

When it comes to hydrogen, JM will aim to become the market leader in high-value performance components for fuel cells and electrolysers and will be targeting more than GBP 200 million (USD 251m/EUR 235m) in sales at the division by the end of fiscal year 2024/25. In fiscal 2023/24, the company will seek to win at least two large-scale strategic partnerships in Hydrogen Technologies. Another strategic milestone for the period is to complete the construction of a catalyst coated membrane (CCM) plant in the UK to increase its total capacity from 2 GW to 5 GW.

JM has an existing partnership with green hydrogen value chain major Plug Power Inc (NASDAQ:PLUG) across advanced components for both fuel cells and electrolysis. The duo will be exploring options to develop a multi-gigawatt manufacturing facility in the US, as well.

Just yesterday, JM also unveiled a new strategic partnership with Enapter AG (ETR:H2O) coupled with a EUR-20-million (USD 21.4m) investment in the electrolysers maker. The two will conduct joint research and development for advanced materials and components for anion exchange membrane (AEM) electrolysers in particular.

At the same time, the Catalyst Technologies division will bolster the company’s focus on the synthesis gas (syngas) value chain and will tackle newer opportunities in blue hydrogen, sustainable fuels and low-carbon solutions. Clean Air is expected to remain a significant business well into the next decade.

Over the next three years to 2024/25, JM plans to invest around GBP 1 billion in its core activities across PGM refineries, Catalyst Technologies and Hydrogen Technologies. Acquisitions in the form of bolt-on deals targeting technologies or growth acceleration are possible. During the same period, it will look to deliver GBP 150 million in annual cost savings.

The strategy is supported by a new global leadership team, including new business leads for JM’s four distinct businesses – Anish Taneja taking over as CEO of Clean Air; Alastair Judge becoming CEO of PGM Services; Jane Toogood to lead Catalyst Technologies; and Mark Wilson to head Hydrogen Technologies.

The company also reported its preliminary financial results for the fiscal year through March 2022, including a 4% year-on-year rise in revenue and a 17% decline in operating profit, which largely reflects a one-off impairment and exit costs for the Battery Materials business. Underlying operating profit, which reflects continuing operations, was up 17%.

(GBP 1.0 = USD 1.256/EUR 1.176)

(EUR 1.0 = USD 1.068)

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