Blog: Dean BestTate & Lyle's "annus horribilis"

Dean Best | 31 October 2007

This morning (31 October), the affable Tate & Lyle CEO Iain Ferguson was no doubt hoping that he gets more time to turn around the UK group after first-half profits tumbled.

The pressure is on Ferguson to revitalise the business, which saw a 19% fall in earnings over the last six months follow three profit warnings this year.

Rising commodity costs, the weak US dollar and losses from its European sugar business has hit Tate & Lyle. The company has sold off a raft of assets in this year in a bid to reduce the effect the weak dollar is having on the business.

Tate & Lyle is looking to refocus the business on value-added food ingredients and sucralose to boost margins but as you’d expect, Ferguson has faced a lot of flak.

Ferguson insisted this morning that “important progress” has been made in shaking up the business. But, with one analyst calling this year Tate & Lyle’s “annus horribilis”, the Scot must be hoping investor pressure doesn’t force his exit amid a shake-up in the boardroom.


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