Tate & Lyle has beaten forecasts with a hike in pre-tax profits of 14% for the past six months.

Boosted by higher corn prices, the British-based maker of starches and sweeteners posted a 14% increase in sales to £1.54bn, as profits for the period to 30 September surged to £194m.

The results beat analysts’ expectations, although some argued that the company’s growth remained dependent on commodity price inflation – despite attempts to diversify into value-added food ingredients.

“Tate & Lyle in its current guise remains exposed to commodity markets as its primary profits driver, with the management focus on specialty food ingredients having limited positive impact so far,” said Shore Capital analyst Darren Shirley.