Tate & Lyle Sugars has blamed an annual loss of £37.4m on dramatic increases in the cost of raw materials.

The losses for the year to 25 September, revealed in accounts made available at Companies House this week, were down to supply shortages and the resulting cost rises, the company said.

The suddenness of the hikes meant Tate & Lyle Sugars was unable to pass on the costs to customers in time to prevent heavy losses.

Unfair EU rules made the spike in the world sugar price impossible to contain, it claimed. “We do not have a weak business - it is just not a level playing field,” said Ian Bacon, president of Tate & Lyle Sugars.

The company had to pay high tariffs to import sugar because of shortfalls in supply from the limited number of African, Caribbean and Pacific states that have tariff-free access to the EU market.

It claimed it had paid €14.5m in tariffs in the last financial year.

As a result of the losses, Tate & Lyle Sugars has had to scale back its operations.

In February, it announced that 30 workers would be made redundant and weekend shifts would be abolished at its Silverton refinery on the bank of the Thames.

In response, a group of 62 MEPs wrote to the European Commission seeking a fairer deal for Tate & Lyle Sugars and other refiners.

This week, EU agriculture commissioner Dacian Ciolos replied saying that he did not agree that the current system was skewed in favour of the sugar beet sector.