UK ingredients company Tate & Lyle today (28 January) warned of flat full-year profits as the company's ethanol business was hit by falling oil prices.

The sugar refiner and sweetener maker said that the global economy had continued to deteriorate since November, and added that, particularly in the US, its ingredients business had been hit by de-stocking.

Tate said it now expects annual pre-tax profits to come in at the "lower end" of expectations for the year ending March 2009 and in line with the previous year's figure of GBP253m (US$361m).

Results at the company's European ingredients, sugars and sucralose businesses were broadly in line with expectations but currency rates had had an adverse direct and indirect impact on its export markets, the company said.

"Our focus on the food sector gives us a measure of resilience, although not immunity, to the current conditions in the global economy," the company said. "We are a well-financed business and are confident of our ability to deliver positive cash flows and weather the prevailing economic storms."