Sweet plan for site amid sugar-free boom

TATE & Lyle is set to re-open a mothballed Splenda plant as demand for healthy sweeteners picks up.

The company beat forecasts with a 34 per cent rise in annual profits. The London-based sweetener and starches maker said it will dust down its plant at McIntosh, Alabama, during 2012 as demand for its zero-calorie Splenda sweetener outstrips capacity at its Singapore unit due to long-term trends towards healthy eating.

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Chief executive Javed Ahmed said the decision to re-open the plant reflected the growth in the group’s value-added speciality products. “In North America and Western Europe we are seeing steady demand for our speciality food ingredients and have seen some pickup since the economic downturn,” he said.

Mr Ahmed has focused on value-added products since taking on the role of chief executive in late 2009. He has sold the company’s sugar refining operations and its mothballed Fort Dodge ethanol plant in Iowa to rival Cargill.