British sugar and sweetener giant Tate and Lyle Plc has today [Wednesday] sold its US sugar division, Western Sugar Co, to the Rocky Mountain Sugar Growers Cooperative.

The two companies had finally settled on a buyout worth US$85m, after a deal that included an asking price of US$96m fell through in January.

Larry Pillard, CEO of Tate and Lyle, explained that the sale fitted the company's strategy of divesting its poorly performing assets. "This disposal marks another very important step in the repositioning of the group," he told Reuters.

Tate & Lyle said the proceeds from the sale of Western Sugar would be used to cut debt.