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23 September 2002

Johnson Matthey To Buy Synetix

Johnson Matthey announced today that it has signed an agreement to buy the Synetix division of ICI for £260 million in cash.

Synetix is a global catalyst business which serves a range of market segments including ammonia, methanol, fine chemicals, edible oils, oleochemicals, oil and gas and polymerisation. These activities complement Johnson Matthey's strong position in precious metal catalysts for a wide range of markets. The acquisition represents further progress in Johnson Matthey's strategy of growing its Catalysts & Chemicals division both organically and by acquisition.

The combination of Johnson Matthey's catalyst businesses with Synetix will present new opportunities to exploit the extensive catalyst technology and research capabilities of both organisations. This will be particularly valuable in new growth segments such as Gas to Liquids (GTL) technology for the energy sector and chiral catalysis for the pharmaceutical industry.

In the year to 31st December 2001 Synetix reported sales of £146 million, EBIT (earnings before interest and taxes) of £24 million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of £30 million. Net operating assets at 31st December 2001 were £109 million. Synetix employs 800 people and has manufacturing sites in the UK, Germany and India.

The transaction is conditional upon regulatory clearance in Germany. The sale of those Synetix businesses which are owned by ICI India Limited is subject to the approval of ICI India Limited's shareholders.

Johnson Matthey will finance this acquisition out of existing borrowing facilities. Following the acquisition the group's debt to equity ratio will rise to just under 50%.

Commenting on the transaction Chris Clark, the CEO of Johnson Matthey, said:

"The acquisition of Synetix is a significant step in growing our highly successful Catalyst & Chemicals business and represents excellent value. The combination of Synetix and our existing catalyst businesses will substantially enhance our market leading position in the worldwide catalyst industry."

Johnson Matthey

Chris Clark
Chief Executive
020 7269 8435

John Sheldrick
Group Finance Director
020 7269 8438

Ian Godwin,
Group Corporate Communications Manager
020 7269 8410

Gavin Anderson & Co

Howard Lee
Laura Hickman
020 7554 1400