Robust retail demand boosts sales and profits at Cranswick

Cranswick has reported strong growth in sales and profits in its preliminary annual results covering the year to 27 March 2021.

The pork and poultry processor reported revenue increased by 13.9% to £1,898.4 million. Like-for-like revenue, which excludes the contribution from acquisitions made in the prior year, increased by 12.1%, with corresponding volumes ahead by 8.7%.

Strong volume growth reflected a full year of sales from the new Eye poultry facility, as well as the a shift to in-home consumption resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Robust retail demand comfortably offset lower food service channel revenues, the company said.

Adjusted Group operating profit increased by 26.1% to £132.5 million, with adjusted Group operating margin 68 basis points higher at 7.0 per cent reflecting a stronger product mix and  improved operating efficiencies.

Poultry – including both fresh and cooked – represented 16% of Group revenue. Poultry revenue increased by 38.5% in the year reflecting a full year contribution from the new Eye poultry facility. Fresh Poultry performed ahead of expectations, the company said, with the planned uplift in sales following successful commissioning of the Eye facility in late 2020 being bolstered by ongoing strong retail demand.

The initial processing target of 1.1 million birds per week was achieved as anticipated at the start of the year and production is now being lifted towards the planned uplift to 1.4 million birds per week. This increased capacity has primarily been achieved by increasing the number of production hours at the site but has also been enabled by continued investment in Cranswick’s feed milling, hatching and rearing operations where it spent £5.7 million during the year to lay down the internal supply chain for the additional 0.3 million birds per week.

This supply chain is now supplying in excess of 1.3 million birds per week. Investment has also centred on developing the site’s capability to produce more portions and value-added products including a ‘roast in the bag’ range. The Eye facility is now capable of producing a wider array of core and value-added products enabling it to more effectively flex production to respond to seasonal demand patterns, Cranswick said.

Cooked poultry volumes were lower, as anticipated, reflecting reduced food service and food-to-go channel demand. Lower food service revenue was partly offset by incremental retail business resulting from continued strong product innovation and robust underlying demand. This retail growth, alongside the anticipated recovery in the food service sector will drive further growth in cooked poultry.

The company also said work was underway on new £25m breaded poultry facility in Hull which will be operational in 2023.

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