Tate & Lyle's annual profit surges

Sales rise in its speciality food and bulk ingredients divisions.

Tate & Lyle sugar. Photograph: Getty Images

The British food company Tate & Lyle has posted a profit of £309m, or 64.6p per diluted share, for the year ended 31 March 2012 – a marked improvement on last year's £167m, or 41.9p per diluted share.

Sales increased by 14 per cent to £3.09bn (2011: £2.72bn).

In its speciality ingredients division – comprising starch-based ingredients, sweeteners and food systems – sales increased by 10 per cent to £887m (2011: £805m), with volumes climbing 4 per cent. Volume growth in the second half was less than the first half, primarily owing to lower volumes in Europe.

Meanwhile, sales in the company's bulk ingredients division (sweeteners, industrial starches, etc) increased by 15 per cent to £2.2bn (2011: £1.92bn), with volumes down by 2 per cent.

Adjusted operating profit rose 8 per cent to £348m (2011: £321m), while net finance expense decreased from £58m to £25m.

In March, the company opened a new global commercial and food innovation centre in Chicago and restarted production at the Splenda Sucralose facility in McIntosh, Alabama.

Javed Ahmed, chief executive of Tate & Lyle, said:

Tate & Lyle performed well with steady growth across a number of our markets supported by exceptionally strong returns from co-products in the first half. This was a year of working hard to achieve a number of our business transformation milestones while at the same time delivering profitable growth.