Cranswick profit surge driven by exceptional demand

Meat processor Cranswick has posted a 27% hike in pre-tax profits, based on exceptional demand across its range of pig and poultry products.

In the 12 months to 27 March 2021, the East Yorkshire firm accrued almost £130m in adjusted profit before tax, from a 13.9% increase in revenue, to £1.9bn.

Key to that figure was the Eye poultry facility, which contributed its first full year of production to help swell the coffers.

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Cranswick continued to invest in increased capacity and the enhancement of existing sites, with a total capital expenditure of £72m during the financial year.

Among the investments was a new £20m cooked bacon facility, which came online in the fourth quarter of the year.

Further investment continued in the construction of a £25m breaded poultry facility close to Cranswick’s headquarters in Hull. The facility is expected to be operational by 2023.

Workforce celebrated

Chief executive officer Adam Couch said 2020 had presented unparalleled challenges and complexity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Mr Couch said since the pandemic restrictions caused the foodservice sector to collapse, there had been “exceptionally robust demand” for its products through retail and online outlets.

This, combined with the company’s ability to maintain production and delivery despite Covid-19 restrictions, had been behind the improved financial picture.

The company hailed the contribution of its workforce and announced a £400 bonus for staff, to be paid at the end of next month.

The bonus is in addition to the £500 paid to staff during the past year in recognition of their contribution during the coronavirus pandemic.

Cranswick added that 2020/21 represented a continuation of 31 years of unbroken dividend growth for its shareholders.

Dividends rose by 15.9% to 70p, compared with 60.4p a year ago. Statutory earnings per share were up 10.9% to 176.4p against 159.1p at the same time last year.

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