Tate & Lyle sweetens profits against Brexit backdrop

Company reports 45 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the first half of the fiscal year


British sugar manufacturer Tate & Lyle has reported a 45 per cent rise in pre-tax profits in the first half of its fiscal year, and, in spite of what it called “challenging” market conditions, maintained its outlook.

The company, whose flagship products include Lyle’s Golden Syrup and Splenda sweetener, said profits before tax in the six months to the end of September rose by 45 per cent to £164 million, while sales grew 6 per cent to £1.48 billion.

“Profit from primary products was lower despite good performance from our manufacturing and supply chain network as market conditions continued to be challenging,” Nick Hampton, Tate & Lyle’s chief executive said.

“Our priorities to sharpen the focus on our customers, accelerate portfolio development and simplify the business are driving momentum across the organisation and supporting performance,” he said.

As the UK prepares to leave the European Union at some point next year, British food and drink manufacturers have faced increased pricing pressures from the 5 per cent decline in the value of the pound against the US dollar over the last two years, as well as heightened uncertainty over the potential labour shortages and supply chain disruption that Brexit might bring.

Nonetheless, Hampton added that, despite market challenges the company maintains its outlook for the year ending 31 March 2020 is unchanged and continues to expect earnings per share growth in constant currency to be “broadly flat to low-single digit.”

Shares were up by more than 5 per cent in London at just over £7 a share, their highest since February this year.

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