Chairman’s statement

Sir Peter Gershon – Chairman (photo)


In this, my first year as Chairman, I am pleased to report that Tate & Lyle has responded well to the near-term financial priorities set at the start of the year, resulting in a stronger balance sheet and a solid overall performance in what have been challenging market conditions. I am delighted to welcome our new Chief Executive, Javed Ahmed, in whose report opposite you will find details of the year’s results.

Regrettably, it has been necessary to recognise total asset write-downs of £260 million, including a very significant impairment of our investment in the Fort Dodge, Iowa plant, in these accounts. I also recognise that large impairments have been made in each of the past five years. The disciplines now being put in place are intended to support an improvement in our investment performance going forward.


The Board is recommending a maintained final dividend of 16.1p, making a full-year dividend of 22.9p per share, in line with the prior year. The full-year dividend is covered 1.7 times by earnings from continuing operations before exceptional items and amortisation of acquired intangible assets. The proposed final dividend will be due and payable on 30 July 2010 subject to shareholder approval, to all shareholders on the Register of Members on 25 June 2010.


There have been a number of changes on the Board since the last AGM. As announced in June 2009, I succeeded Sir David Lees as Chairman following last year’s AGM and, on 1 October 2009, Javed Ahmed succeeded Iain Ferguson as Chief Executive, thereby completing the final steps in the succession plan.

The Board was further strengthened during the period by the appointment of two new non-executive directors, Douglas Hurt and William Camp.

Richard Delbridge will be retiring as a non-executive director at the end of our 2010 AGM after serving on the Board for the last ten years. During that time, Richard has served as Chairman of our Audit Committee and as the Senior Independent Director. On behalf of the Board, I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his wise counsel and outstanding service since 2000. Robert Walker will replace Richard as Senior Independent Director at the conclusion of this year’s AGM.


We have announced our intention to refocus our strategy and prioritise our future investment in speciality food ingredients. We have also announced a number of important changes to our organisation and the way that we go to market. These changes are described in more detail in the Chief Executive’s review. Through these changes we will build the platform from which we will deliver sustainable long-term growth.


Upon my succession as Chairman, in seeking to continue to strengthen the governance framework established under my predecessor, I held a series of meetings with major shareholders and directors. A number of recommendations were agreed as an output from these meetings, most of which have now been implemented.

In addition, I carried out the annual evaluation of the Board’s effectiveness. The evaluation consisted of one-to-one performance evaluation meetings with each director and the Company Secretary. The Board is currently implementing a number of recommendations arising from this process.

Overall, I am confident that the Tate & Lyle Board remains fit for purpose and continues to provide the highest standards of governance and leadership.

Sir Peter Gershon

26 May 2010