The group said that solid profit gains in starch-based speciality ingredients, together with robust growth in emerging markets, was offset in the year by the cold winter weather in the US and an increasingly competitive market for its Splenda sucralose sweetener.
It said sweetener volumes in both of its divisions - Speciality Food Ingredients and Bulk Ingredients - were held back by a soft US beverage sector.
Having warned back in February that impending price declines for its Splenda sucralose were expected to hit full-year results, and trading in the new financial year,
"While we will continue to face sucralose pricing headwinds in the current year, our strong innovation pipeline, robust balance sheet and continued growth in emerging markets means we are well placed to deliver growth over the longer term," said Chief Executive
The British-based multinational agribusiness posted a lower pretax profit of
The group declared a 5.3% increase in its dividend for the year to
Splenda sweetener is one of the company’s bestselling brands, and earnings growth prospects deteriorated for
The group posted a 4% sales rise in its Speciality Food Ingredients division driven by strong volume growth in emerging markets and
"In Speciality Food Ingredients, we expect to deliver volume growth across all major product categories but a lower profit contribution from Splenda sucralose is expected to offset a good performance elsewhere in the division," the company said in a statement.
The group said that notwithstanding the competitive market environment and the headwind of lower prices, its continues to see good long-term volume growth opportunities in the global market for sucralose, supported by rising obesity rates.
However its Bulk Ingredient division saw a drop in profits, again held back by a soft beverage season in the US, which it said reduced demand for liquid corn sweeteners which is used in cereals, baking and soft drinks.
"In Bulk Ingredients, we now anticipate a slower start in the US in our first quarter associated with the prolonged and severe winter, combined with lower European sugar prices in our second half, to outweigh a better performance across other product categories," the company added.
"The pipeline is well balanced with a number of line extensions, next generation and breakthrough projects across our sweeteners, texturants, health and wellness and bulk ingredients platforms,"
The group reduced its net debt in the year to
The company's shares plummeted earlier in the year when its cut its full-year profit expectations, reversing to rise 7% at the end of April on media reports that
"While we have always seen
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