UK-based sugar and sweetener firm Tate & Lyle has said trading in its fiscal 2005 year has started well, with first-quarter profit beating expectations.

“Profit before tax and exceptional items for the quarter ended 30 June 2004 has been ahead of both our expectation and the corresponding period in the prior year,” the company said, adding that all its major business segments had met or exceeded targets.

The company said its Splenda Sucralose sweetener had achieved a better than expected contribution in the quarter, which more than offset an anticipated shortfall in Amylum’s profitability. 

“Although it is early in the financial year the decline in raw material prices for Amylum and the success of Splenda Sucralose makes it likely that the profit before tax and exceptional items for the year will be somewhat higher than the board envisaged at the time of the preliminary announcement of results on 3 June 2004,” Tate & Lyle said.

The company also announced that its US Staley unit has reached an agreement to end the long running high fructose corn syrup civil legal case in the US with the payment of total damages of US$100m.

“Staley continues to deny emphatically involvement in any wrongdoing, but has settled with great reluctance to ensure an end to this lengthy action and to avoid the risk and uncertainty that a US jury trial would involve,” the company added.