Tate & Lyle sells plant

SWEETENERS and starches maker Tate & Lyle sold a mothballed US ethanol plant in Iowa to Cargill yesterday, and reported a performance in line with expectations before a corn co-product boost to income.

The London-based group, which makes sweeteners like Splenda, starches and ethanol, said it had sold the Fort Dodge plant for $57m (£35m).

Tate & Lyle said net debt should now be lower at the end of its financial year to 31 March, after previously guiding it would be similar to that reported for 30 September.

Tate was giving a trading update ahead of full-year results on 27 May. Analysts expected 2010/11 underlying pre-tax profit of £258.7m, up from £229m.