Sugar refiner Tate & Lyle has announced that for the four months to 31 January, profit before tax was "marginally ahead of expectations", despite issuing three profit warnings last year.

A good performance in its Americas ingredients operations boosted the company’s results. It predicted that pre-tax profits in the six months to the end of March would be similar to the £117m it made in the first half of its financial year.

Last Friday, when the management statement was announced, Tate’s share price rose 11p, or 2.1%, to 519.5 in the afternoon.

In Europe, however, margins on sweetener products remain under pressure, warned Tate & Lyle in a trading update.

In the sugars division, the firm reported that its EU sugar refineries continued to operate within a challenging market, but said profits were slightly higher than in the same period a year ago.