Tate & Lyle in talks to sell sweeteners division in move to healthier food | Tate and Lyle

Source: www.theguardian.com

Tate & Lyle is in talks to sell its sweeteners division, which makes the bulk of the company’s £2.9bn revenues, in a move towards healthier food products.

The 162-year old company – which sold its sugar business, home to Lyle’s Golden Syrup, in 2010 – said that it was in “early stage” talks with potential new partners about the sale of a controlling stake.

Shares rose 6% after the announcement on Monday morning, making Tate & Lyle one of the top risers on the FTSE 250. The plans to separate the business were first reported by the Sunday Telegraph.

“Tate & Lyle notes recent media speculation and confirms that it is in the process of exploring the potential to separate its food and beverage solutions and primary products businesses through a sale of a controlling stake in its primary products business to a new long-term financial partner,” the company said.

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The primary products division makes artificial sweeteners such as stevia and sucralose used in soft drinks, as well as starches used in food and the manufacturing of products such as cardboard boxes, particularly for the North American market. The division, which made revenues of £1.8bn in the year to April 2020, competes with larger US-based rivals Ingredion and Archer Daniels Midland.

Tate & Lyle is seeking to focus on its smaller food and beverage division, which made annual revenues of £942m, which helps companies such as Mondelez and Nestlé replace sugar, salt and fats in their food products. The food and beverage division has higher profit margins and more growth potential than its sweeteners operation, as consumers turn to healthier eating options.

“Tate & Lyle continues to successfully execute its strategy and remains confident in the future growth prospects of the company,” the company said. “However, the board believes that if a transaction of this nature was completed it would enable Tate & Lyle and the new business to focus their respective strategies and capital allocation priorities and create the opportunity for enhanced shareholder value.”