Business briefs: Tate | Savage | IFA | Bowleven

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FOOD and sweetener group Tate & Lyle said it overcame “headwinds” to post a 4 per cent rise in annual profits and forecast further earnings growth over the year ahead.

The group saw sales growth of its sweetener products such as Splenda and naturally-derived Purefruit grind to a halt in the year to 31 March, remaining flat at £198 million.

It said demand was hit by weak conditions in Europe, while there was also competition in the market from natural alternatives.

Group-wide underlying pre-tax profits rise to £329m, up from £318m the previous year.

• Trade body Oil & Gas UK has recruited industry veteran Terry Savage to its board of directors.

Savage, who is corporate relationship director of service and contracting company Global Energy Group, has spent nearly 40 years working in oil and gas and other engineering disciplines.

He said: “I feel that Oil & Gas UK has now become the voice of the industry and I will offer my experience and commitment to further its objectives.”

Global Energy Group recently helped establish a skills academy for the sector.

• Tax credit specialist Jumpstart has agreed a three-year alliance with the Institute of Financial Accountants (IFA).

The deal sees the firm become a preferred partner with the IFA, an accountancy body whose members work for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), or who run or work in small and medium-sized accounting practices that advise SMEs. Edinburgh-based Jumpstart specialises in presenting “detailed, accurate and compliant” research and development tax credit submissions to HM Revenue & Customs.

• Bowleven, the Africa-focused oil and gas exploration group, yesterday said it was close to appointing a new operations director. Ahead of the appointment, Phil Tracy – who has held the post on an interim basis since 2011 – will resume his role as a non-executive director at the Edinburgh company.

Ronnie Hanna, Bowleven’s chairman, said Tracy had made a significant contribution to the group and that the company would continue to benefit from his “extensive operations and development experience”. Shares closed unchanged at 71.25p.