- Tate & Lyle has said it made 'encouraging progress' in the first half of the year to September 2019, as group statutory profit before tax of climbed 45% to £164m, £51m higher mainly due to lower exceptional costs.

The group's Food & Beverage Solutions reported adjusted operating profit of £90m in the period, with sales up 4% as a result of good price and mix management and the pass through of higher net corn costs.

New products sales increased 12% to £55m, representing 11% of sales in the division, while profit was 11% higher, reflecting cost discipline. Sucralose recorded a 1% decline in profit to £29m for the six months to September 2019.

In Primary Products, adjusted operating profit was down 5% to £86m, with Sweeteners and Starches profit 5% lower, as good performance from manufacturing and supply chain and cost discipline was partly offset by weaker volume from challenging market conditions.

Tate & Lyle said its interim dividend increased by 0.2p to 8.8p per share, up 2.3%. Chief executive Nick Hampton said: 'We made encouraging progress in the first half. In Food & Beverage Solutions, increased focus on pricing and mix management delivered strong growth. Profit from Primary Products was lower despite good performance from our manufacturing and supply chain network as market conditions continued to be challenging.'

He added: 'Despite market challenges, our outlook for the year ending 31 March 2020 is unchanged and we continue to expect earnings per share growth in constant currency to be broadly flat to low-single digit.'

At 8:04am: [LON:TATE] Tate Lyle PLC share price was +41p at 704.8p

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