Tate & Lyle

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Tate & Lyle is a British-based multinational agribusiness.

It was one of the two main sugar companies in the UK (the other being British Sugar). In 2010, the company sold its EU sugar refining businesses, Tate and Lyle Sugars, to American Sugar Refining.

It has a long history of involvement in corporate propaganda and spying on its workers, not least through its long-term involvement with the Economic League.


  • Non-Executive Chairman - Sir David Lees Joined the Board and was appointed Chairman in October 1998. He joined GKN plc in 1970 and became Group Finance Director in 1982. He was appointed Group Managing Director in 1987 and then Chairman and Chief Executive in 1988. He retired as Chief Executive of GKN in 1996 but continued to serve as Chairman until his retirement in May 2004. From 1991 to 1998 he served as a non-executive director of Courtaulds plc, the last two years as Chairman. He also served as a non-executive director of the Bank of England from 1991 to 1999. He is currently joint Deputy Chairman of Brambles Industries plc and Brambles Industries Limited, Deputy Chairman of Qinetiq Group plc and a member of the Panel on Takeovers and Mergers.
  • Chief Executive Iain Ferguson Iain has been Chief Executive of Tate & Lyle PLC since May 2003.

He is the current President of the Food and Drink Federation, and is Past President of the Institute of Grocery Distribution. He is also Honorary Vice President of the British Nutrition Foundation.

He has served on the Board of Rothamsted Research Ltd (96 – 05) and most recently as a Commissioner on the Donald Curry's Policy Commission on the Future of Farming and Food.

He joined Unilever in 1977 as a trainee following graduation from St Andrews University. In 1988 he became Chairman of Plant Breeding International and in 1992 his became Chairman of the Unilever Plantation Group. He moved to be Chairman of Birds Eye Walls in 1995 and then Senior Vice President Corporate Development for Unilever and NV in April 2001. Iain served as a Non-Executive Director of Sygen International plc from 2002 until 2006.

In the June 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours List,he was awarded a CBE for services to the food industry.

Executive Directors:

Non Executive Directors:


Tate & Lyle is headquartered in the UK and is a global company currently operating more than 60 production facilities in 24 countries mainly throughout Europe, the Americas and South East Asia. At 31 March 2007. They employ 6,900 people in their subsidiaries with a further 2,300 employed in joint ventures.

During the year ended 31 March 2007, the Group operated through five business divisions:

  • Food & Industrial Ingredients, Americas
  • Food & Industrial Ingredients, Europe
  • Sucralose
  • Sugars, Americas & Asia
  • Sugars, Europe

Partnerships and acquisitions

In October 2006, the company we formed a multi-year partnership with MicrobiaPrecision Engineering, Inc, a US-based entrepreneurial pharmaceutical company, to develop fermentationderived renewable ingredients. The combination of our fermentation experience and their microbial technology will help stimulate new product development and reduce time to commercialisation. In December 2005, the company acquired the Italian-based Cesalpinia Foods, and then in January 2006, acquired US speciality food ingredients company Continental Custom Ingredients Inc. Both companies bring expertise to Tate & Lyle in the areas of dairy stabilisers, hydrocolloid systems, emulsifiers, vitamins and flavours. In April 2006, the company acquired Hycail, a Dutch company developing polylactic acid (PLA) polymers and resins, a biodegradable plastic made from renewable resources.[1]

Asian markets

In light of recent EU sugar reforms the company has been increasingly focusing on its value-added ingredients as it seeks to reduce reliance on its sugar activities and has looked east to untapped markets. The company has recently (Sept 2007) opened a new research and development centre in Shanghai, China to help manufacturers develop food products that are targeted to the preferences of Asian consumers. The company will develop prototypes of both Asian and Western-style foods and beverages.

A spokesperson for the company stated "In China, we are seeing a strong impact of Western culture vs. the traditional Chinese culture and food. The economic growth, especially in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, leads to a faster-paced lifestyle and a greater role for convenience foods."

(In Japan) "While the older population is generally more interested in traditional foods, younger people tend to consume more convenience foods,"

Catering to the Asian consumer has become a major target for food manufacturers, as disposable income is on the rise and as EU regulations become more onerous [2]

EU Lobbying

T&L Sugars Limited has 3 lobbyists with European Parliament passes, allowing the bearer virtually unlimited access to the Parliament's buildings.[3]

Contact Details

  • Address: Tate & Lyle PLC, Head Office, Sugar Quay, Lower Thames Street, London EC3R 6DQ, UK
  • Tel: +44) (0)20 7626 6525
  • Website: www.tateandlyle.com


Tate & Lyle has been a donor to the Science Media Centre from 2002-2011 according to the SMC.[4]


  1. 'Tate & Lyle PLC Announces Preliminary Results for the Year Ending March 31, 2006', PR Newswire, 25 May 2006.
  2. Jess Halliday, 'Tate & Lyle woos Asia with R&D drive', www.foodnavigator.com, 4 October 2007.
  3. Companies declaring the most lobbyists Lobby Facts, 26 January 2015, accessed 3 February 2015
  4. Data from Internet Archive holdings of the Science Media Centre website, 2002-2013.