The world’s leading automotive catalytic convertor firm Johnson Matthey heads its sector and leaps to sixth overall from 42nd last year. The precious metals and coatings specialist has certainly been keeping shareholders happy, paying out a whopping £228m dividend in Q3. The world’s largest diversified chemical business, BASF, which is listed in Frankfurt, London and Zurich, is second. It employs 1,800 people in the UK and sales here are around £2.8bn annually. Third-placed Croda – whose products range from lubricants and surfactants to cosmetics ingredients – put in a solid performance. First-half profits rose 6.3% to £132m. Engineering polymer manufacturer Victrex slips two places after a tough year – first-half sales fell by 2%.