Tate & Lyle’s profit dented by expansion of sweetener plant

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH sweeteners and starches maker Tate & Lyle said yesterday that the cost of re-opening a factory and tough trading in Europe had reduced earnings growth in its first half.

The group posted adjusted pre-tax profit of £179m, up two per cent, stifled by the cost of restarting a second plant for its zero-calorie sucralose sweetener Splenda in Alabama earlier this year. First-half sales rose seven per cent to £1.63bn, despite uncertainty around the wider economy and corn quality and pricing.

Chief executive Javed Ahmed said the group made progress against the backdrop of a strong first half last year, softer market conditions in Europe and the steep change in fixed costs associated with the restart of its Alabama facility.

“We continue to do fine in Europe but we just haven’t seen a lot of growth,” he said.

Tate & Lyle said it continued to expect to make progress this financial year.

The company dusted down its McIntoch sucralose plant in Alabama earlier this year as its sole plant in Singapore was struggling to cope with demand.

Shares in the group, which had a strong run into the results, rising 19 per cent since 10 September, fell 0.5 per cent.

“The company is very healthy and has high margins,” said Panmure Gordon analyst Graham Jones.