The Singapore plant, due to open in January 2007, is expected to triple the Tate & Lyle's sucralose production since it became the sole producer of the product in April 2004. It will be the firm's second production facility built specifically for its Splenda sucralose brand, along with the original Alabama factory in the United States.
The company says it chose Singapore above larger makerts such as China because of its reputation for highly skilled workers and attractive tariff structures, but also due to "excellent support from the Singapore Economic Development Board (SEDB)".
The details of this support are confidential but Tate & Lyle did reveal that the SEDB had offered the firm greater protection for its 30 or so sucralose patents in a secured intellectual property environment. Singapore has a good track-record on patent security according to Tate & Lyle spokesperson Ferne Hudson.
Only Tate & Lyle is allowed to produce sucralose and everything about its manufacture, even down to the way the factory is constructed, is a closely guarded secret.
Teo Ming Kian, chairman of the SEDB, said he was proud Tate & Lyle were coming to Singapore and that the move would only benefit the country's reputation as a good business environment. "This decision reaffirms our position as a strong combination of trust, science, innovation and good connections to end markets which will sharpen the competitive edge of these companies," he said.
Iain Ferguson, Tate & Lyle chief executive, said a base in Singapore would help improve access to both Asian and European markets. "Sucralose has enjoyed success in Japan since the first products were launched there in 1999 and we aim to replicate this success across the region," he said.
Sucralose is now permitted in 40 countries after being legalised by the EU in Februrary this year, and has been highlighted by Tate & Lyle as key to the company's £130 million pre-tax profits for 2004, up from £110 million last year.
Both European and Asian value-added sweetner markets were valued at £118.7 million in 2003, and Hudson said that discussions with manufacturers had made Tate & Lyle confident of opportunities for growth in these regions, particularly in dairy and bakery sectors.
In addition to the Singapore project, Tate & Lyle is also doubling production capacity at its US sucralose plant in a £42 million project.