Tate & Lyle has said it expects first-half profits to be in line with earlier predictions despite tough market conditions and soaring energy costs in the UK and abroad.

Tate & Lyle said that despite “[operating] in a very difficult market while surplus stock is absorbed against a backdrop of reducing institutional prices” it was confident “market equilibrium between supply and demand for EU sugar [would] be restored”.

“The group continues to trade satisfactorily,” said chief executive Iain Ferguson. “We expect profits from the group's continuing operations in the first half-year to be broadly in line with the corresponding period in the prior year and our own expectations.”

However, its debt grew by around £75m to £1.149bn between March and the end of August. The board will announce its first-half results in November.

Meanwhile, the company has begun the hunt for a new director of finance. John Nicholas is set to leave Tate & Lyle on 30 September after just two years with the company.

Tim Lodge, who is currently director of investor relations, takes over the reins on a temporary basis from Nicholas in addition to his existing duties.