Tate & Lyle unit sold for £67m

TATE & Lyle yesterday sold off the last of its historic British sugar businesses – offloading its molasses distribution arm for £67m.

Northern Irish commodities group W&R Barnett has bought the unit in cash, and Tate & Lyle says it will use the proceeds to pay down its net debt.

The molasses business had annual sales of £228m in the year to 31 March, generating profits of £13m.

The sale follows on from its decision in July to offload its main sugar and golden syrup division to American Sugar Refining for £211m, and is part of Tate & Lyle’s chief executive Javed Ahmed’s plan to focus the company on speciality food ingredients.

Tate & Lyle said the sale of the final piece of its global sugar operation – a Vietnamese business – was progressing well.

“I would like to thank our molasses employees for their hard work and commitment over many years and wish them every success in the future,” said Ahmed.

“Our clear priority is to grow the speciality food ingredients business, supported by cash generated from bulk ingredients. This disposal represents another important step as we focus, fix and grow our business,” he added.