Tate & Lyle first said in October 2006 that it was considering selling its sweeteners and starches business, Food and Industrial Ingredients, Europe (TALFIIE), in a bid to focus on its value-added ingredients. The planned sale was subsequently confirmed in May this year. The Commission said yesterday that the acquisition by Syral would not affect the competition in the European Economic Area and therefore the companies could go ahead with the merger. The EC said it particularly examined the mergers in the markets for liquid sweeteners, dry sweeteners, vital wheat gluten and polyols. The sale involves facilities in the UK, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain. "Syral is one of the smaller players with one single production plant and limited capacity facing established competitors, who have a strong foothold in the market," the European Commission decided. The divestment is estimated to be worth £200m to £220m (€293m to €323m), and comes about as part of Tate & Lyle's business review following the EU's adoption of the new sugar regime last year. According to Tate & Lyle, the review determined that the firm's TALFIIE division is primarily a commodity led business, and such is no longer an essential element of its strategy to focus on value added ingredients. Various manoevres have already been considered including its acquisition of German ingredients firm GC Hahn, completed in June this year, and the building of a new R&D centre in Lille, due to open this September. Syral is a subsidiary of French sugar producer Tereos, and is said to be the fourth largest producer of glucoses and other starch-based ingredients in Europe. Turnover for the year ended September 30 2006 was €177m.