Share your thoughts on our News & Insights section. Complete our survey to help us improve.

Share research

Tate & Lyle – solid full-year results, selling its share in the Primient joint venture

Tate & Lyle’s full-year results were broadly as expected, the sale of its share in the Primient joint venture being the key news.
Tate & Lyle - agrees to buy Chinese prebiotic fibre business

No recommendation - No news or research item is a personal recommendation to deal. All investments can fall as well as rise in value so you could get back less than you invest.

Prices delayed by at least 15 minutes

Tate & Lyle reported a 2% decline in full-year revenue to £1.6bn, driven by lower volumes and customer destocking. However, strong pricing and proactive mix management helped underlying cash profit (EBITDA) rise 7% to £328mn.

Free cash flow rose £49mn to £170mn, reflecting an improvement in cash conversion. Net debt fell £85mn to £153mn, or 0.5 times cash profit (EBITDA).

Revenue is expected to be slightly lower in the coming year, but cash profit is forecast to grow 4-7%.

A sale has been agreed for the remaining stake in its US joint venture, Primient, for $350mn. The plan is to return the net proceeds through a buyback.

A final dividend of 12.9p per share was announced, bringing the full-year dividend to 19.1p per share, up 3.2%.

The shares rose 1.2% in early trading.

Our view

Tate & Lyle’s transformation into a fully fledged speciality food and beverage solutions business is complete. The sale of its Primient joint venture was the final hurdle. Markets have reacted well, despite guidance that was perhaps a little soft.

The company’s continued to see reduced demand for some end products and persistent de-stocking by customers. We’re also monitoring the potential impact from new weight loss drugs, though we remain sceptical about whether these will move the dial.

On a positive note, the Group's making good on its promise to streamline operations and focus on the most profitable parts of the business. The margin benefits are coming through, and an underlying cash profit (EBITDA) margin of 19.9% was a step up from last year.

The core business is in food & beverage solutions, with smaller units focusing on European sweeteners and the sugar alternative Sucralose. But it's the core business, specifically solution-based partnerships, that we see as a key growth driver. This is where it partners with customers to create bespoke solutions to their dietary and nutritional needs. Deeper relationships and closer ties add an element of stickiness to the business, and enable Tate & Lyle to leverage its technical expertise.

The sale of Tate’s remaining stake in the Primient joint venture is important. It was the last remnant of the legacy business and an important hurdle to clear. From here acquisitions and expansions are a key part of the plan, and we've seen a ramp-up in internal and external investment to drive the next era of growth.

Cash flows are also strong enough to support some well-timed debt repurchases, bringing down interest costs, which is helping to support the margin expansion. The balance sheet is strong enough without these actions, but it's refreshing to see some prudent capital allocation supporting longer-term goals.

The renewed focus on speciality ingredients and solutions, a strong management team, and a balance sheet with enough firepower to expand all give scope for optimism. The valuation, roughly 12 times expected earnings, isn't too demanding. In the short term, volume challenges and the potential impacts from new weight loss drugs continue to loom overhead. It'll take some knockout performances for sentiment to shift.

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk

The food and beverage industry tends to be medium-risk in terms of ESG though some segments like agriculture, tobacco and spirits fall into the high-risk category. Product governance is a key risk industry wide especially in areas with strict quality and safety requirements. Labour relations and supply chain management are also industry wide risks, with other issues varying by sub-sector.

According to Sustainalytics, Tate & Lyle’s management of material ESG issues is strong.

Tate & Lyle ESG reporting doesn't adhere to leading standards, but they have assigned board-level responsibility for overseeing ESG issues. There’s a robust environmental policy that ties executive compensation directly to ESG performance targets. Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions data is disclosed, and the group’s carbon intensity has been on a declining trend for several years. Additionally, the whistleblower program is considered very strong.

Tate & Lyle key facts

All ratios are sourced from Refinitiv, based on previous day’s closing values. Please remember yields are variable and not a reliable indicator of future income. Keep in mind key figures shouldn’t be looked at on their own – it’s important to understand the big picture.

This article is original Hargreaves Lansdown content, published by Hargreaves Lansdown. It was correct as at the date of publication, and our views may have changed since then. Unless otherwise stated estimates, including prospective yields, are a consensus of analyst forecasts provided by Refinitiv. These estimates are not a reliable indicator of future performance. Yields are variable and not guaranteed. Investments rise and fall in value so investors could make a loss.

This article is not advice or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any investment.No view is given on the present or future value or price of any investment, and investors should form their own view on any proposed investment.This article has not been prepared in accordance with legal requirements designed to promote the independence of investment research and is considered a marketing communication.Non - independent research is not subject to FCA rules prohibiting dealing ahead of research, however HL has put controls in place(including dealing restrictions, physical and information barriers) to manage potential conflicts of interest presented by such dealing.Please see our full non - independent research disclosure for more information.
Latest from Share research
Weekly Newsletter
Sign up for Share Insight. Get our Share research team’s key takeaways from the week’s news and articles direct to your inbox every Friday.
Written by
Matt Britzman
Equity Analyst

Matt is an Equity Analyst on the share research team, providing up-to-date research and analysis on individual companies and wider sectors.

Our content review process
The aim of Hargreaves Lansdown's financial content review process is to ensure accuracy, clarity, and comprehensiveness of all published materials
Article history
Published: 23rd May 2024