Tate & Lyle finds the right mix of ingredients as sales surge

City A.M. Reporter
STRONG growth of zero-calorie sweetener Splenda and other speciality food ingredients helped boost Tate & Lyle’s full-year profit 23 per cent to £323m, as the group benefited from consumers opting for healthier foods.

The London-based sweeteners and starches group reopened a second plant in March in the US to meet demand for its sucralose Splenda while high sugar prices benefited its competing bulk sweeteners and it gained from growth in emerging markets.

Chief executive Javed Ahmed has been shifting the focus of the group away from being a bulk commodity player to a speciality food ingredients business.

He said the group saw steady growth across a number of its markets in the year, including Asia and Latin America. Despite economic uncertainty and a step up in investment he said he expected further growth this year.

“We expect to see progress on profits, and continue to see top line growth from our speciality food ingredient this year”, he said.

Ahmed saw little sign of improvement in the US economy where Tate makes around 70 per cent of its sales, with unemployment steady at around eight per cent.

The group has very little business in troubled Eurozone nations such as Greece and Spain.

Overall group sales rose 14 per cent to £3.1bn with operating profit up eight per cent at £348m.

Analyst Dirk Van Vlaanderen at Tate & Lyle’s house broker Jefferies said earnings were slightly ahead of forecasts due to more favourable financing costs, and expects little change to current forecasts which look for a two per cent rise in earnings to 57.6 pence for the year to March 2013.