Tate & Lyle is in talks with Savola Group over the sale of the UK sweetener company's minority stakes in two sugar refineries in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The company is in "ongoing" talks over the sale of its 10% stake in a Saudi sugar refinery and 3% stake in an Egyptian refinery, the group confirmed today (19 October).

Tate & Lyle told just-food that the move was in-line with the sale of its International Sugar Trading business, which was announced in July last year.

"We made it clear that the business sold excluded a small number of minority interests related to the sugar trading business which would be disposed of separately in accordance with the related shareholders agreements," a spokesperson said.

"These minority interests include stakes in two sugar refineries where Savola is the principal partner, one in Saudi Arabia and one in Egypt."

However, contrary to reports, the spokesperson emphasised that the move does not signal a shift away from refining sugar, with its European sugar refinery business remaining "core" to its activities.