Tate & Lyle has drawn a line under more than 130 years in the sugar trade after selling its European refining business to American Sugar Refining for around £200m.

The company said the sale would result in “a more focused, less volatile business” concentrating on food ingredients. Its sugar business registered operating profits of £14m in the year to 31 March against sales of £689m.

News of the deal, which will result in one-off costs of up to £55m, comes after chief executive Javed Ahmed indicated in May that a shift in strategy was likely.

“Sugar refining has enjoyed a long and proud history within Tate & Lyle, but we believe the interests of this business and its employees are now best served by being part of a company for whom sugar refining is core,” Ahmed said today.

“Our clear priority is to grow the speciality food ingredients business, supported by cash generated from bulk ingredients. This disposal will enable us to concentrate our resources on delivering our strategic objectives as we focus, fix and grow our business.”

Read more
Tate & Lyle CEO to make changes to the group's organisation (27 May 2010)
Tate & Lyle adds Hurt as non-exec (10 March 2010)
Sales below par at Tate & Lyle (28 January 2010)