Tate and Lyle has sold the historic Thames refinery in Silverton, London to American Sugar Refining (ASR) for 211 million British pounds (GBP). The transaction was announced on 1 July, and ends 130 years of sugar operations for T&L. The GMB union, that represents workers in the Silvertown refinery, has been assured that operations will continue, and that ASR has no intention to close the facility.
The deal includes the Silverton refinery, which employs 550 workers, the Golden Syrup Plant or Plaistow Wharf, with an additional 40 workers, and a refinery in Lisbon, Portugal. It also includes the right to use the Tate and Lyle brand worldwide.
Tate and Lyle said it will move out of sugar production and focus on corn wet milling and high intensity sweeteners. The GBP 211 million will be applied against the company’s net debt. The process is expected to be finalized in September.
American Sugar Refining (ASR) acquired Tate & Lyle North American Sugars, Inc. (Domino Sugar) and its three refineries in 2001; and Tate & Lyle Canada Ltd. (Redpath Sugar in Toronto) in 2007. “Sugar is a global business,” said an ASR spokesperson, adding that the operation “makes perfect sense for ASR… The European (UK) acquisition in many ways mirrors our North American operations and will complement our company.”
ASR owns and operates six cane sugar refineries, located in Yonkers, New York; Baltimore, Maryland; Chalmette, Louisiana; Crockett, California; Toronto, Canada; and Veracruz, Mexico. ASR is owned by Florida Crystals Corporation, a Fanjul Corp. company, of West Palm Beach, Florida, where the Fanjul Family, of Cuban origin, has a long involvement in the sugar sector.