Tate & Lyle shares fell on the FTSE 250 today after the company issued a trading statement ahead of its results for the half year ended 30 September, due out at the beginning of November.

The group said that it was completing the sale of its EU Sugar Refining operations for £211 million today, a move that will also help produce a fall in its underlying net debt in the second quarter.

In an outlook statement Tate & Lyle said, "In Speciality Food Ingredients, we expect a continuation of the growth patterns experienced during the first half of the year.

"In Bulk Ingredients, we expect the firm demand for corn sweeteners into Mexico to continue alongside the modest ongoing decline in US domestic demand, subject to normal seasonal patterns, and stable demand in our other food markets. As usual, the outcome of the 2011 calendar year sweetener pricing rounds will influence performance in the final quarter of the financial year. Despite some improvement in demand, the industrial starch markets remain under pressure.

"The encouraging first half performance underpins our confidence that we will make progress in the full financial year."

At 17:00 shares in Tate & Lyle were down 1.00 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 466.80 pence per share.