A combination of increased retail sales during lockdown and soaring Far East exports have driven a further 31% increase in Cranswick’s profits in the first half of the current financial year.
The Hull-based company saw its revenue grow by £162 million to £931.6m, a 21% increase (17% like-for-like), in the 26 weeks to September 26. Adjusted profit before tax for the period was up 30.8% on the corresponding period last year to £60.7m.
Cranswick’s finances were already in a healthy state following recent years of steady growth and, despite the disruption caused by the virus to some of its plants, it has benefited in revenue terms from the switch in consumer buying habits caused by COVID-19, alongside continuing strong export growth.
Adam Couch, Cranswick’s Chief Executive Officer commented: “I am incredibly proud of our colleagues who have performed so brilliantly in responding to the extraordinary and unparalleled challenges we currently face. I would again like to thank them for their professionalism, commitment, dedication and passion. “We have made a strong start to the year. Although we remain cautious about the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19 and the continued uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations, we are well positioned to address these challenges. “Our outlook for the current year is unchanged and we have a solid platform from which to continue Cranswick’s successful long-term development.”
Poultry, which includes fresh and cooked poultry represented 15% of group revenue. Poultry revenue increased by 34.9% during the period reflecting a full contribution from the new Eye facility during the period, partially offset by lower food service sales in cooked poultry.
Following the successful commissioning and production ramp-up of the new Eye primary processing facility in Q4 last financial year, birds processed averaged the targeted 1.1m per week during the period. The business is performing ahead of expectations, the company said, and the successful partnership with the site’s anchor retail customer has resulted in plans being developed to increase processing capacity to 1.4m birds per week by the end of the financial year.
This capacity increase will be delivered primarily through restructuring shift patterns and will require modest capital investment during H2 to upgrade the site’s effluent plant. Capital expenditure at the site during the period included investment in a combined heat and power plant. Cranswick also invested £3.1m in the milling, hatching and rearing operations during the period and will continue to do so during H2 to secure the internal supply chain for the additional 0.3m birds per week required by Eye in FY22.