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Tate and Lyle PLC
Type Public (LSE: TATE)
Founded Merger of Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons in 1921
Headquarters London, England, UK
Key people Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman
Javed Ahmed, CEO
Industry Food Processing
Products Sugar
Citric Acid
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Revenue £3,424 million (2008)
Operating income £215 million (2008)
Net income £187 million (2008)
Employees 6,488 (2008)

Tate & Lyle plc (LSE: TATE) is a UK-based multinational agri-processor. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index as of 23 March 2009.[1]



The company was formed in 1921 from a merger of two rival sugar refiners, Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons.[2]

Henry Tate established his business in 1869 in Liverpool, later expanding to Silvertown, London:[2] he used his industrial fortune to found the Tate Gallery in London in 1897. Abram Lyle, a cooper and shipowner, acquired an interest in sugar refining in 1865 in Greenock, western Scotland and then in Plaistow, London.[2] The two companies had large factories nearby each other - Henry Tate in Silvertown and Abram Lyle in Plaistow so prompting the merger. The Liverpool plant closed in 1981. The Greenock plant closed during the 1990s.

In 1949 the Company introduced its "Mr Cube" brand, as part of a marketing campaign to help it fight a proposed nationalization by the Labour government.[2] In 1976 the Company acquired a 33% stake (increased to 63% in 1988) in Amylum, a European starch-based manufacturing business.[2]

In 1988 it acquired A. E. Staley, a US corn processing business[2] and in 1988 it bought Haarmann & Reimer, a citric acid producer.[2]

In 2004 it established a joint venture with DuPont to manufacture a renewable 1,3-Propanediol that can be used to make Sorona (a substitute for nylon) is its first major foray into bio-materials.[2]

In 2005, DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts was created as a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle. [3]

In 2006 it acquired Hycail, a small Dutch business, giving the Company intellectual property and a pilot plant to manufacture Polylactic acid (PLA), another bio-plastic.[4]

In October 2007 five plants involved with production of starch and alcohol were sold to Syral, a subsidiary of French sugar company Tereos.[5] Syral has since closed the Greenwich plant, which is currently being demolished.

In February 2008, it was announced that Tate & Lyle granulated white cane sugar would be accredited as a Fairtrade product, with all the company's other retail products to follow in 2009. [6]

In April 2009 the International Trade Commission affirmed a ruling that Chinese manufacturers can make copycat versions of its Splenda product.[7]

Javed Ahmed became CEO on October 1, 2009, replacing Iain Ferguson.[8] In the presentation of half-year results to analysts on November 6, 2009, just five weeks after taking office, Ahmed said that his priorities for the company would be to reduce capital expenditures, optimize working capital, and reduce costs.[9]


Tate & Lyle refinery plant at Silvertown, London

The Company operates over 50 production facilities and is organised as follows:[10]

  • Food & Industrial Ingredients, Americas (formerly A. E. Staley): processes corn (maize) into a range of end products including food and industrial starches, ethanol, fibres and other animal feed and food ingredients. The operations are mostly in Decatur and Lafayette: the Company is building a new corn wet mill in Fort Dodge, Iowa.
  • Food & Industrial Ingredients Europe (formerly Amylum): processes corn (Maize) and wheat.
  • Sucralose: produces Splenda at a plant in Singapore. Splenda was also produced at a plant in McIntosh, Alabama until 2009 when all production was consolidated at the lower-cost facility in Singapore. The McIntosh facility is being maintained in a condition such that production could be restarted within a few months should the need arise.[11]

Trademark and Brand

A tin of Lyle's Golden Syrup

The company is renowned for its refined sugar cane products, especially Lyle's Golden Syrup, its brand of partially inverted refiners syrup. The Lyle's Golden Syrup trademark (also used on other products) depicts a lion and a swarm of bees, as well as a partial quotation from the Bible. In the Book of Judges, Chapter 14, Samson was travelling to the land of the Philistines in search of a wife. During the journey he killed a lion, and on his return past the same spot he noticed that a swarm of bees had formed a comb of honey in the carcass. Samson later turned this into a riddle at a wedding: "Out of the eater came forth meat and out of the strong came forth sweetness." The last seven words still appear on tins of Golden Syrup. Abraham Lyle was a deeply religious man and may have intended to refer to the strength of the company or to the strength of the tin.

According to a news report, the Guinness Book of Records has concluded that the design of the tin, which has remained almost unchanged since 1885, forms Britain's oldest brand.[12] In the red tin is the Partner of Golden Syrup - Black Treacle (dark molasses).

Criticisms and controversies

In 2005, The U.S. sugar industry claimed against Tate & Lyle that the advertising of Splenda was deceptive and filed a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Taking issue with Splenda's advertising slogan “made from sugar so it tastes like sugar,” the Sugar Association stated that: "Splenda was not a natural product. It is not cultivated or grown and it does not occur in nature." McNeil Nutritionals, the manufacturer of Splenda responded that its "advertising represents the products in an accurate and informative manner and complies with applicable advertising rules in the countries where Splenda brand products are marketed." The consumer advocacy group Citizens for Health also filed a petition with the FDA. They have asked the FDA to withdraw its approval of Splenda pending additional investigation of claimed side effects such as stomach pain and other digestion problems. [13]

See also


Further reading

External links



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