Tate & Lyle

Tate & Lyle PLC
Traded as LSE: TATE
Industry Food processing
Founded Merger of Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons in 1921
Headquarters London, England, United Kingdom
Key people
Sir Peter Gershon, Chairman
Javed Ahmed, CEO
Products Starches
Citric Acid
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Revenue £2,356 million (2015)[1]
£33 million (2015)[1]
£30 million (2015)[1]
Number of employees
4,064 (2015)[1]
Website www.tateandlyle.com

Tate & Lyle plc is a British-based multinational agribusiness. It was originally a sugar refining business, but from the 1970s began to diversify, eventually divesting its sugar business in 2012. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. It specialises in using innovative technology to turn raw materials like corn, tapioca and oats into ingredients that add taste, texture, nutrients and increased functionality to food and beverage,[2] as well as industrial chemicals and animal foods. It operates from 25 manufacturing facilities and a network of research centres worldwide.


Sugar refining

The company was formed in 1921 from a merger of two rival sugar refiners, Henry Tate & Sons and Abram Lyle & Sons.[3]

Henry Tate established his business in 1869 in Liverpool, later expanding to Silvertown in the East End of London:[3] he used his industrial fortune to found the Tate Gallery in London in 1897, and endowed it with his own collection of pre-Raphaelite paintings.[4] Abram Lyle, a cooper and shipowner, acquired an interest in sugar refinery in 1865 in Greenock, western Scotland and then at Plaistow Wharf, West Silvertown, London.[3] The two companies had large factories nearby each other — Henry Tate in Silvertown and Abram Lyle at Plaistow Wharf — so prompting the merger. Prior to the merger, which occurred after they had died, the two men were bitter business rivals, although they had never met in person.[5]

In 1949, the Company introduced its "Mr Cube" brand, as part of a marketing campaign to help it fight a proposed nationalisation by the Labour government.[3]


From 1973, British membership of the European Economic Community threatened Tate & Lyle’s core business, with quotas imposed from Brussels favouring domestic sugar beet producers over imported cane refiners such as Tate & Lyle.[6] As a result, under the leadership of Saxon Tate (a direct descendent of Henry Tate), the company began to diversify into related fields of commodity trading, transport and engineering, and in 1976, it acquired competing cane sugar refiner Manbré & Garton.[6]

In 1976 the Company acquired a 33% stake (increased to 63% in 1988) in Amylum, a European starch-based manufacturing business.[3]

The Liverpool sugar plant closed in 1981 and the Greenock plant closed during the 1990s.

In 1988, Tate & Lyle acquired a 90% stake in A. E. Staley, a US corn processing business. In 1998 it brought Haarmann & Reimer, a citric acid producer. In 2000 it acquired the remaining minorities of Amylum and A. E. Staley.[3]

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). This was its first major foray into bio-materials.[3]

In 2005, DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts was created as a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle.[7]

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.[8] Tate & Lyle has discontinued their PLA activities and closed the Hycail plant in 2008.

In October 2007, five European starch and alcohol plants, previously part of the European starch division knowns as Amylum group, were sold to Syral, a subsidiary of French sugar company Tereos.[9] Syral closed its Greenwich Peninsula plant in London in September 2009, and it was subsequently demolished.[10]

Tate & Lyle head office in Kingsway, London

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.[11]

In April 2009, the United States International Trade Commission affirmed a ruling that Chinese manufacturers can make copycat versions of its Splenda product.[12]

Javed Ahmed became CEO on 1 October 2009, replacing Iain Ferguson.[13]

Disposal of sugar refining business

In July 2010 the company announced the sale of its sugar refining business, including rights to use the Tate & Lyle brand name and Lyle's Golden Syrup, to American Sugar Refining for £211 million.[14] The sale included the Plaistow Wharf and Silvertown plants.[14]

In 2012, HarperCollins published The Sugar Girls, a work of narrative non-fiction based on the true stories of women who worked at Tate & Lyle's two factories in the East End of London from the 1940s to the 1960s.[15]


The company is organised as follows:[16]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "Annual Report 2015" (PDF). Tate & Lyle. Retrieved 15 April 2016.
  2. http://tateandlyle.com/aboutus/pages/aboutus.aspx
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Tate & Lyle: History
  4. The River Thames from Hampton Court to the Millennium Dome (1999) ISBN 1860117015
  5. Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi. The Sugar Girls. Collins. ISBN 978-0-00-744847-0.
  6. 1 2 "Sir Saxon Tate, Bt". Daily Telegraph. 5 September 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2016.
  7. "DuPont and Tate & Lyle to Open $100 Million Bioproducts Plant". GreenBiz. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. Tate & Lyle: Industrial ingredients
  9. "Tereos starch subsidiary Syral finalises the acquisition of 5 Tate & Lyle Plants" (PDF). Syral. Retrieved 2010-01-14.
  10. "Farewell, Tunnel Refineries". 853: News, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London. Retrieved 4 September 2016.
  11. "Tate & Lyle sugar to be Fairtrade". BBC News. February 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
  12. Alison Frankel. "Sweet Surrender: Bingham Wins ITC Sugar Substitute Case". Litigation Daily. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  13. "Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE LN): New CEO Takes Helm," Jefferies International Ltd., 2 October 2009
  14. 1 2 Tate & Lyle sells sugar arm to American Sugar Refining BBC News, 1 July 2010
  15. Matt Nicholls (2011-02-23). "Sweet! Tate & Lyle lives celebrated". Newham Recorder.
  16. Tate & Lyle: Our Structure

Further reading

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