StockMarketWire.com - Food and beverage ingredients supplier Tate & Lyle said it expected its results for the financial year just completed to be slightly ahead of its previous guidance.

The company said it would release its results for the year through March 2020 on 21 May.

'The group performed well during the year with each trading division exceeding the prior year's performance,' it added.

'Accordingly, we expect to announce results slightly ahead of our guidance coming into the year.'

Tate & Lyle said that while trading in March showed little impact from the Covid-10 pandemic, lockdowns in April had led to significant changes in demand patterns for its products.

The company said its food and beverage solutions and Sucralose units continued to perform well, with volume for the former in line with the comparative period and Sucralose 18% higher due to phasing of customer orders.

'Earlier in the month, demand was strong for ingredients used in packaged and shelf-stable foods as consumers in North America and Europe filled their pantries for consumption at home,' Tate & Lyle said.

'As the month progressed, this was offset by lower demand for products consumed out-of-home, such as in the food service sector in North America.

Volume in the primary products division, meanwhile, was 'significantly impacted' by the first full month of lockdown in the US.

Bulk sweetener volume was 26% lower from reduced out-of-home consumption as bars, cinemas, restaurants and sporting events were either shut or cancelled.

Industrial starch volume was 9% lower reflecting reduced demand for paper and packaging following the closure of schools, offices and a general decline in economic activity.

Commodities were also impacted as ethanol prices decreased sharply.

'The financial impact of lower demand was partially mitigated by prompt actions taken in March to optimise cash and reduce costs as we saw the pandemic unfolding,' the company said.

'These included freezing salary increases and recruitment, stopping non-essential discretionary spend and reprioritising capital commitments.'

Tate & Lyle said it had a strong financial position and balance sheet, with access to over $1bn through cash on hand and a revolving credit facility.



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