UK sugar and sweetener company Tate & Lyle has announced higher sales for the year to 31 March, but exceptional items cut the company's pre-tax profit.

Total sales were £3.342bn (US$6.1bn), compared with £3.167bn the year before. Profit before tax, exceptional items and amortisation rose to £255m from £227m, while profit before tax was £197m, down from £224m the year before.

The net charge for exceptional items of £45m includes the £55m in respect of the settlement of the high fructose corn syrup class action suit in the US.

"Tate & Lyle reports a strong financial performance in the year to 31 March 2005 led by growth in Splenda Sucralose and other value added ingredients," said chairman Sir David Lees. "In the year to 31 March 2006 we expect further progress although our results will reflect increased start-up costs relating to our new value added facilities."

"Looking further ahead, the pressures for reform of the EU sugar regime have intensified with the recent WTO dispute panel appeal having ruled against the EU," he said. "Reform will adversely affect the future performance of our European Sugar and Food & Industrial Ingredients businesses, although we cannot quantify the consequences at this stage."

"The European Commission has indicated that formal proposals for reform will be tabled on 22 June 2005," he said. "It is our intention to publish our quantification of the range of potential impacts upon our businesses after the EU Commission proposals are formally published."