Hull-based cosmetics-to-crop protection outfit Croda takes the honours in this year's most buoyant sector, as well as coming fifth overall - its best-ever result. Profits for the nine months to October were up over 6% to £192m, margins hit a record 24.2%, and it bought the speciality chemicals division of America's Arizona Chemical for £7.9m. Catalyst king Johnson Matthey is down one to second in its sector, and seventh overall. High-performance plastics business Victrex recovered from last year's blip with first-half profits of £45.7m. Robert Beeston, chairman of surfactant and humectant business Elementis, stepped down in July, while multinational giant BASF - which is to close its Renfrewshire works with the loss of 141 jobs - slipped three places to fifth.