Ajinomoto told FoodNavigator that there was “no fact” in the claim that it was considering such a transaction, and added that it was therefore “not in a position to comment” on what the acquisition would mean for Ajinomoto.
A spokesperson from Tate & Lyle said: “As you would expect, we do not comment on speculation of this type.”
Tate & Lyle’s shares have rallied since it issued a trading update on April 2, in which it said there was no change to its previous full-year guidance. It expected profits to be “modestly below” the range it gave in September 2014, of £230m to £245m (€315m to €335m), reiterating its position from February.
Its share price rose 7% from 608 pence on April 1 to 651 pence by end of day on April 9. February’s position was the company’s third profit warning in a year, as competition from sucralose suppliers in China had undercut its prices, and the company struggled with falling oil and sugar prices.
Then in March, Tate & Lyle increased its list price for sucralose by 20%, saying it was taking “a disciplined approach to value”.
Even before talk of interest from Ajinomoto, rumours have been rife about a potential takeover of Tate & Lyle’s Splenda business, and the Telegraph also reported speculation in February that Bunge could be interested in acquiring the sweetener brand.
In last Thursday’s trading statement, Tate & Lyle said: “As planned, the project to evaluate how best to maximise returns from Splenda sucralose is reaching conclusion and will be finalised with the Board during April. We expect to communicate the outcome in the next few weeks.”