Tate & Lyle sells Vietnam sugar plant

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Tate & Lyle has announced that it will sell its Vietnamese sugar interests to a local dairy firm in a cash deal worth £33 million (US$55 million), as part of its restructuring efforts.

The London-based company said the deal with TH Milk Food Joint Stock Company is subject to regulatory approval and that it expects the transaction to be completed in the first half of the current financial year.

The deal will involve the Nghe An Tate & Lyle Plant, one of the largest sugar producers in Vietnam, Nick Hasell, a Tate & Lyle spokesman, told Thanh Nien in an email. The plant crushes up to 1.2 million tons of cane to produce 120,000 tons of white sugar a year.

Hasell said the sugar exit strategy was consistent with the company's "focus, fix and grow" strategy, under which Tate & Lyle was been withdrawing from sugar. The company's Vietnamese sugar interests are its remaining assets in this space, he said.

"The disposal decision is not reflective of the attractiveness of Vietnam as a country in which to invest, but is part of wider realignment of Tate & Lyle's assets in line with a clearly-articulated strategy," he said. Tate & Lyle is now structured around two divisions speciality food ingredients and bulk ingredients, he added.

TH Milk is a producer of milk, fruit juice and other drinking products. The company started building a $1.2 billion dairy plant and farm project in the central province of Nghe An in May 2010, aiming to meet 50 percent of milk demand in Vietnam on the project's completion.

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