Should You Buy Tate & Lyle Today?

LONDON -- Giant sweetener-producer Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE  ) has ridden the equities wave since the start of the year and is still up 9% so far in 2013 despite the recent risk-aversion striking financial markets.

Although food producers like Tate & Lyle tend to harbor defensive qualities -- populations still need to be fed, regardless of the economic climate -- I believe the company could face severe earnings pressure in coming years as competition in its most important markets heats up.

Sucralose volumes headed lower
Tate & Lyle published worrying third-quarter numbers last month, showing weakening demand growth for its artificial sweetener sucralose. The firm now expects sales volume in the year ending March 2013 to come in lower than that of the preceding 12-month period.

Tate & Lyle is expected to face mounting competition in this market, particularly from the Far East, where sucralose production is set to take off. Last month, China's JK Sucralose, the world's second-largest producer of the product, announced that it hopes to ramp up capacity to 6,000 tonnes by 2018 from around 1,500 tonnes at present. It also said it expects sales to leap 50% this year.

Elsewhere, competitor PureCircle -- the world's leading manufacturer of natural sweetener stevia -- is also reporting rocketing volumes as consumers switch from synthetic alternatives, and it's due to roll out a range of fresh products in the near future.

Earnings expected to drop in 2013
City forecasters expect Tate & Lyle to post an earnings-per-share decline of 4% to 55 pence in 2013 before recovering modestly in the following years. Respective gains of 9% and 8% are expected in 2014 and 2015.

The sugar specialist was recently changing hands on a P/E ratio of 15, representing a premium to the forward reading of 11.9 for the entire food-producers and -processors sector. This is expected to head lower over the medium term to 13.8 this year and 12.8 next year.

However, the emergence of growing competition in Tate & Lyle's key markets could pressure the company's revenue forecasts, which I believe makes Tate & Lyle an expensive choice against its peers right now.

Dividend policy progressive but underperforming
Tate & Lyle is expected to provide a 26.1 pence dividend in 2013, up from 24.9 pence in 2012. And the firm is predicted to ramp these up to 27.6 pence and 29.4 pence, respectively, in 2014 and 2015. Further, these payments are well secured with projected coverage of between 2.1 and 2.2 times through to 2015.

Despite these expected dividend increases, the company's yield is forecast to remain below the 3.5% mean reading for the U.K.'s 100 biggest listed firms over the medium term. Respective yields of 3.1% and 3.3% are expected this year and next before reaching 3.5% in 2015.

Bolster your investment income with the Fool
If Tate & Lyle's earnings outlook and low dividend yield fail to excite and you are looking for other FTSE 100 winners to really jump-start your investment income, then you should check out this brand-new and exclusive report covering a multitude of other premium payers right now. Our "5 Dividend Winners To Retire On" wealth report highlights a selection of tasty stocks with an excellent record of providing juicy shareholder returns. Among our picks are top retail, pharmaceutical, and utilities plays that we are convinced should continue to provide red-hot dividends. Click here to download the report -- it's 100% free and comes with no obligation.

Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (0)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Compare Brokers

Fool Disclosure

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2334849, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/25/2016 10:35:30 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...

Today's Market

updated 1 day ago Sponsored by:
DOW 18,261.45 -131.01 -0.71%
S&P 500 2,164.69 -12.49 -0.57%
NASD 5,305.75 -33.78 -0.63%

Create My Watchlist

Go to My Watchlist

You don't seem to be following any stocks yet!

Better investing starts with a watchlist. Now you can create a personalized watchlist and get immediate access to the personalized information you need to make successful investing decisions.

Data delayed up to 5 minutes

Related Tickers

9/23/2016 12:10 PM
TATE $728.10 Up +0.60 +0.08%
Tate & Lyle CAPS Rating: No stars