Updates from Johnson Matthey, Synergy Health and Betfair

The FTSE 100 saw a 2.36% bounce yesterday, finishing 123 points higher at 5,384. The biggest two risers were Vedanta Resources, up 9.05%, and Barclays, up 8.24%.

Elsewhere, optimism also swept Europe with the French Cac 40 rising 2.42%; Stateside, the Dow Jones climbed 2.37%. Overnight in Asia, the rally continues with the Nikkei up 1%.
First up this morning, chemicals operator Johnson Matthey - and a profits leap. Underlying profit before tax to the end of March climbs to £426 million, a 23% rise, substantially more than the analyst community had expected.

Revenues increased 20% to £12,023 million from £9,985 million the year before, again, well ahead of expectations thanks to heavy US demand and "excellent" progress from its US API Manufacturing business.

"The group is well positioned for the year ahead and we remain confident that our strong positions in key markets will allow us to make further progress in Environmental Technologies and Fine Chemicals in 2012/13." However Matthey warns this may be offset by a weaker performance from Precious Metal Products - if precious metal prices remain at current levels.

Next, Synergy Health. Revenues for the full year climb 8.6% to £312 million with adjusted operating profits rising 13.8% to £49 million. A 13% dividend rise will please investors, taking the dividend from 15.84p to 18p. Good opportunities in Asia and the Americas are offsetting economic headwinds in Europe, the company says.

"We are excited by the opportunities that we have in China and the US for the expansion of our Hospital Sterilisation Services," says chief exec Richard Steeves, "and we believe that global demand for our Applied Sterilisation Technologies will remain strong."

The company claims 9.8% of revenue is now generated outside the UK & Ireland, Europe & Middle East regions. All acquisitions are "integrated well and performing in line with expectations".

Lastly, Betfair has announced it has been awarded online gambling licences in Spain, enabling it to offer sportsbook and certain casino products (roulette & blackjack) in the country's newly regulated market.

Under the terms of the licences, Betfair will pay a Gross Gaming Revenue tax of 25% on Spanish operations - a tax, claims Betfair, that the company has already been paying since May 2011 when Spain's new gambling act was introduced.

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