This website is a history of Tate and Lyle. Henry Tate set up his business in 1869 in Liverpool, which then expanded to Silvertown in the East End of the capital. He used his wealth to found the Tate Gallery in 1897, and filled it with his collection of pre-Raphaelite pictures. Abram Lyle, a cooper and shipowner, gained an interest in sugar refinery in 1865 in western Scotland and subsequently at Plaistow Wharf in London.
The two companies had considerable factories nearby each other — Henry Tate in Silvertown and Abram Lyle at Plaistow Wharf — which prompted the merger. Before this, the two men were business rivals, though they had never met personally. The Liverpool factory shut down in 1981 and the Greenock plant followed suit in the 1990s.
In 1949, Tate and Lyle introduced its "Mr Cube" brand, as part of a campaign to enable it to fight a proposed nationalization by the government. In the seventies the Company gained a 33% stake (increased to 63% in the late eighties) in Amylum, a European manufacturing business.
In the late eighties, it gained a 90% stake in A. E. Staley, an American corn-processing business and in the late nineties it brought Haarmann & Reimer, a citric acid producer. In 2000 it gained the remaining minorities of Amylum and A. E. Staley.
In 2004, the company set up a joint venture with DuPont to make a renewable 1,3-Propanediol that can be used to make Sorona (a substitute for nylon). This was its first substantial attempt at bio-materials.
DuPont Tate & Lyle BioProducts was set up as a joint venture between DuPont and Tate & Lyle.
In 2006, it acquired Hycail, a small business from the Netherlands, giving the Company intellectual property and a pilot plant to create Polylactic acid (PLA), another bio-plastic. Tate &Lyle has ended their PLA activities and shut down the Hycail plant.
Tate and Lyle today
In 2010, American Sugar Holdings (ASR Group) acquired the businesses of Tate & Lyle PLC, i.e. Tate & Lyle Sugars in the UK and Sidul in Portugal.
This was a significant milestone as these operations are now part of the world’s greatest cane sugar refining company with operations in North America, Central America and Europe.
The European companies have about 1,300 direct and contract employees (including shares in joint ventures) making sugar at their refineries and associated sites. The cane sugar supply chain which supplies them stretches all around the world.
The business focuses mainly on bringing speciality sugars and ingredients made from sugar cane to the European market – a market dominated by sugar produced from home-grown sugar beet under Europe's Common Agricultural Policy.
Cane refiners in the European Union are being made uncompetitive by policies that favour sugar from beet and stop a level playing field among European sugar manufacturers.
The EU artificially restricts raw material supply to cane refiners. Beet processors do not face the same legislative constraints. Europe's cane refiners and consumers pay the cost of this misguided policy. Read more about their campaign for fair treatment at SAVEOURSUGAR.