Sales up at Cranswick plc

Cranswick plc has reported a 10% growth in underlying turnover in the three months to the end of June 2013 compared to the same period last year, reflecting strong growth across most product categories.

Total sales for the three months were 12% higher after taking into account the contribution from Kingston Foods, which was acquired on June 29 2012, and modest third-party sales made by Wayland Farms Limited (formerly East Anglian Pigs Limited) which was acquired on April 29 this year.

The firm said operating margins in the first quarter were below those achieved during the previous financial year as a whole, reflecting higher input costs and, as was anticipated, start-up costs at the company’s new pastry facility.

As expected, pig prices increased during the first quarter of the financial year and have increased further during July to a new record high. The impact has been absorbed through ongoing efficiency improvements and by the strong volumes processed through the Cranswick’s facilities.

The company’s gourmet pastry facility at Malton, North Yorkshire, was completed during the period. The factory is now commissioned, enabling the firm to further develop its existing business by offering a broad range of premium savoury pastry products.

Work has also started on extending the Delico cooked meats facility in Milton Keynes. This project will provide increased capacity to meet anticipated sales growth and the investment in advanced cooking and slicing technology will deliver increased throughput and improved yields.

Cranswick reported net debt of £55 million at the quarter-end. This was £17 million more than the same time last year and compared to £35 million higher than at March 31, 2013. The company said the increase during the quarter reflected the usual seasonal uplift in working capital and also reflected the £13 million investment in East Anglian Pigs. 

With unsecured facilities of £100 million available, however, Cranswick still has generous headroom for further investment going forward.

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