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Johnson Matthey shares rise as auto recovery drives upbeat profit view

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(Reuters) -Chemicals maker Johnson Matthey said on Thursday it has started a strategic review of its health business and forecast annual profit at the top end of market expectations thanks to a recovery in the automotive market. 

  Shares in the London blue-chip company, which makes pollution filters for cars, rose more than 4% at 3236 pence by 0720 GMT. 

  "As the world builds back greener following the pandemic, we have an important role to play in helping society address climate change through our sustainable technologies," Chief Executive Officer Robert MacLeod said. 

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  Global auto production in the second half of the year was better than prior expectations, the company said. However, the Clean Air unit, its largest, had been hit by repeated coronavirus-led closures in the first-half and annual performance is expected to be moderately below prior year. 

  A company-compiled consensus of analyst expectations shows full-year group underlying operating profit between 405 million pounds and 502 million pounds, the company, one of Europe's leading producers of autocatalysts said. 

  The company's health division, which is under strategic review, is expected to perform better than the prior year, Johnson Matthey said, with new customer contracts for active pharmaceutical ingredients used in generic opioid addiction therapies. 

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  (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)