Tate & Lyle has reported a “solid” performance for the first three months of 2012

Tate & Lyle has reported a “solid” performance for the first three months of 2012

UK-based food ingredients maker Tate & Lyle has reported a "solid" performance for the last three months of its financial year, boosted by growth of its sucralose sweetener amid the high price of sugar.

In a trading update for the year ended 31 March, the firm said the final figures helped it top off a "good performance" for the whole 12 months and encouraged it to reopen its second zero-calorie sucralose sweetener facility ahead of schedule. Tate & Lyle said production at its Splenda sucralose facility in McIntosh in Alabama has now restarted ahead of schedule and the first customer orders have started to be fulfilled.

The company said it achieved good sales value growth in its speciality food ingredients division, with volume growth across all major product categories.

In its bulk ingredients division, sweetener volumes "remained strong", the firm said, with isoglucose margins improving in Europe during the second half on the back of higher sugar prices.

The company also benefited from firmer industrial starch margins in Europe during the year, despite "market conditions having started to soften recently against the backdrop of a more challenging macro-economic environment".

The group said its net debt will be "somewhat higher" than at the end of its previous year after it decided to keep its US corn silos full in response to the anticipated tight supply situation running up to next harvest.

Tate & Lyle made the trading update ahead of its full-year results on 31 May.