Shares in Tate & Lyle climbed today (29 September) after the UK food ingredients maker forecast a year of “profitable growth”.

In a trading update for the six months to the end of September, chief executive Javed Ahmed said Tate & Lyle’s “encouraging start” to its financial year had continued into the second quarter.

Ahmed said the company had seen “solid demand” in “a number of markets” for its speciality and bulk ingredients.

Tate & Lyle’s speciality food ingredients division saw volumes grow in line with the market as product launches from customers boosted demand for the company’s sucralose sweetener.

Demand in the US for corn sweeteners and a “firm market” in Mexico for corn sugar bolstered Tate & Lyle’s bulk ingredients business.

There were some notes of caution. Tate & Lyle said volumes within its food systems business were lower due to “tough trading” in Russia.

Meanwhile, competition in Latin America meant citric acid sales were lower than a year earlier.

Nonetheless, Tate & Lyle said its performance in the first half of its financial year meant it expects “another year of profitable growth” for the company.

City analysts gave a positive response to the update. At Investec, Martin Deboo said volumes were “robust” across most of Tate & Lyle’s operations and added: “For us Tate is continuing to sail in calm and sunny waters.”

Deboo, added, however, that Investec would maintain its ‘hold’ rating on Tate & Lyle’s shares as the value of the stock looks “full” compared to US rivals Archer Daniels Midland and Corn Products International.

Shares in Tate & Lyle were up 3.43% at 633.5p at 11:32 BST this morning.

The company will issue its half-year results on 3 November.