LONDON, July 25 (Reuters) - Johnson Matthey, the world's largest supplier of catalytic converters, reported virtually flat underlying profit for the first quarter, hit by a "substantial reduction" in earnings from its precious metal products division.
The British speciality chemicals company said on Wednesday underlying profit before tax came in at 99.9 million pounds ($155.1 million) in the three months to end-June, against 98.2 million a year ago, on the back of a 6 percent rise in sales.
It said "good growth" in profit at its key environmental technologies and fine chemicals divisions was offset by the impact of lower platinum and palladium prices on the services business of its precious metal products arm.
Johnson Matthey last month proposed its first ever special dividend after posting larger than expected full year profits. (Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques)