UK sugar and sweetener group Tate & Lyle has posted an 18% rise in annual profit, beating forecasts.

Headline pre-tax profits increased to £187m (US$306.2m) for the year to 31 March, while underlying profit before exceptional items and goodwill amortisation rose 43% to £228m, beating forecasts of £205-216m.

"Profit growth in the current year will depend on improving efficiency, cutting costs and driving sales of branded products," finance director Simon Gifford was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Tate & Lyle, which produces branded sugars and syrups, soft drinks sweeteners and industrial starches, said its two major starch and sweetener businesses, Staley in the US and Amylum in Europe, generally performed well, although the group suffered from ongoing low prices for citric acid and Czech sugar.