UK starch, sugar and sweeteners group Tate & Lyle today [Thursday] issued a positive forecast for first half results, but added that higher sweetener prices would be vital to maintaining profit growth in the second half.

The group said first half results should be well above the year-ago period, as trading in the first five months had outstripped expectations.

Higher sweetener prices are key to the maintenance of profit growth in the coming half, and the impact of higher raw material costs is likely to be felt. Tate & Lyle can partly offset the increased cost of raw material maize by selling on maize by-products like corn oil, reported Reuters.

"We anticipate that the results for the full year will revert to a traditional trading pattern with a significant weighting of profits towards the first half," the company said in a statement.

The company will announce its first half results on 7 November.