Sir Peter Gershon
Profit before tax, exceptional items and amortisation of acquired intangible assets of £263 million represents growth of 34% (32% in constant currency).
We have refocused the business through the sale of our EU Sugar Refining Operations, Molasses business and ethanol facility in Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA, and the reorganisation of the Group into two global operating divisions, Speciality Food Ingredients and Bulk Ingredients, supported by the creation of the Innovation and Commercial Development group, a unit dedicated to driving long-term growth.
During the year, the Board approved two major strategic initiatives to support the transformation of the business. The first, the Commercial and Food Innovation Centre in Chicago, USA will transform our product development capability and the way we work with our customers; the second, the development of a single set of business processes supported by one global IT infrastructure and a global Shared Services Centre in Łódź, Poland, will make the business more efficient and responsive.
Profit before tax, exceptional items and amortisation of acquired intangible assets of £263 million represents growth of 34% (32% in constant currency) on the previous year, with Speciality Food Ingredients and Bulk Ingredients delivering an increase of 26% and 15% in adjusted operating profit respectively.
Through a combination of continued tight financial discipline, strong cash generation and proceeds from disposals, net debt at the year end stood at £464 million, a 43% reduction on the previous year (2010 – £814 million).
I am also pleased to report that we have made progress reducing the amount of adverse exceptional items reported within these results.
The Board is recommending a 5% increase in the final dividend to 16.9p, making a full-year dividend of 23.7p per share, up 3.5% on the prior year. The proposed increase in the dividend reflects the Board’s confidence in the business.
The Board deeply regrets the fatality that occurred at our joint-venture plant in Turkey in May 2010 as reported last year. Whilst our overall safety performance has continued to compare well against the industry we are very disappointed that our performance has deteriorated from last year.
We have no higher priority than safety. In light of the above, during the year we asked DuPont, recognised as an industry leader in safety, to undertake a review of safety across the Group. The results of this audit have catalysed an action plan which will help us achieve our long-term goal of world-class safety performance. My colleagues on the Board and I will continue to pay close attention to this.
Corporate responsibility and risk management
Following its 2010 effectiveness review, the Board established a Corporate Responsibility Committee to strengthen its oversight of safety, social, environmental and ethical matters.
Providing strong, effective leadership within a sound framework of control is the Board’s primary duty and requires directors to have a deep understanding of the business. We began a programme of individual site visits by directors which has helped us enormously in our work this year to enhance risk management and determine an appropriate risk appetite for Tate & Lyle. It has also made the directors more visible to employees. This will be very important in the coming year as we continue to implement our strategy and intensify our focus on safety.
Finally, I would like to thank all our employees who have worked immensely hard during a period of great change to deliver this year’s results.
Sir Peter Gershon
26 May 2011