Shares in Tate & Lyle were boosted today (19 July) after chairman Sir David Lees told investors at the company's AGM that first quarter results were "well ahead" of last year.

"Trading has started strongly in the current financial year," Lees said. "This was due mainly to a continuation of the strong performance from Food & Industrial Ingredients Americas and from sugar trading."

The company said that it is continuing to work on its response to changes to the EU sugar regime. Across the business, Lee said, a number of expansion projects are underway to stimulate long-term growth of the value added segment.

"We continue to view the future with confidence and remain committed to our target for the profit contribution from total value added products to increase by 30% in the year to March 2007 from the GBP161m (US$293.84m) reported last year."

At time of press, shares in Tate & Lyle had risen by 2.15% to 642.50 pence.