UK - British pig meat and food processor Cranswick has seen underlying sales increased by 12 per cent in the year ended 31 March.
Total sales for the year were 13 per cent higher after taking into account the contribution from acquisitions, however the company has reported that operating margins have been hit.
Strong growth was seen across most product categories, particularly fresh pork, bacon and cooked meats.
Pastry sales also continue to grow strongly following the successful launch of several new product ranges during the year.
Export sales were well ahead of the levels reported in the previous financial year, reflecting robust demand for pork products in Far Eastern markets.
The group invested in excess of £20 million in its infrastructure during the year to the end of March, allowing it to further improve operational efficiencies and to launch new product ranges.
The group’s new gourmet pastry facility at Malton, North Yorkshire, was successfully commissioned earlier in the financial year, but with higher than anticipated start-up costs and work is ongoing on the extension to the Milton Keynes cooked meats’ plant, which will add substantial capacity and deliver further efficiency gains.
The record input prices seen during the year hit operating margins.
Despite some recovery as the year progressed, operating margins will, as expected, be slightly below those achieved in the previous financial year.
Notwithstanding the significant capital investment programme and the acquisition of the pig breeding and rearing activities earlier in the year, strong cash generation from operating activities through the final quarter will result in year-end net debt being substantially lower than at the end of quarter three and below the level reported at the last financial year end.
The Group recently extended the term and increased the size of its banking facility, leaving the business in a sound financial position, with committed, unsecured facilities of £120 million which provide generous headroom through to July 2018.
With experienced management at all levels of the Group, a strong range of products, a well invested asset base and a robust financial position, the Board remains confident in the continued long term success and development of the business.
TheMeatSite News Desk