* Sees H1 operating profits flat, but "progress" for full yr
* Sucralose volumes return to growth in its second quarter
* Shares edge 1.6 percent higher in firmer London market
LONDON, Sept 27 British sweeteners and starches
maker Tate & Lyle Plc expects a small rise in full-year
profits, as its food ingredients gain from a trend towards
healthier eating, although first-half profits will be flat due
to one-off factors.
The London group's first half ending Sept. 30 is being held
back by the cost of re-opening a second plant for its
zero-calorie sucralose sweetener Splenda and the absence of
bumper profits from the high prices gained for its animal feed
by-products the previous year.
Analysts said these two impacts will fall away in the second
half of its year and see a rise of around 3 percent in annual
earnings for the full year through March 2013.
In last year's first half, the company made an operating
profit of around 194 million pounds ($313 million).
"Overall, while recognising the current level of uncertainty
around the wider economy and volatile corn markets, we continue
to expect to make progress this financial year," the company
said in a trading statement on Thursday.
Analyst Dirk Van Vlaanderen at Jefferies, Tate's own broking
adviser, said he expects little change to consensus estimates
for a 3.1 percent rise in full-year earnings to 56.4 pence a
share, but added there was a subtle shift to a more positive
The group said volume of sucralose returned to growth in its
second quarter (July to September), but half-year volumes would
still be lower due to a tough first quarter, hit by poor trading
in Europe and comparisons with a strong year-ago period.
The company dusted down its McIntoch sucralose plant in
Alabama earlier this year as its sole plant in Singapore
was struggling to cope with demand.
The group was giving the update towards the end of its
half-year and ahead of first-half results on Nov. 8.
Tate's shares edged up 1.6 percent to 665 pence by 0725 GMT
in a slightly firmer London stock market.