Cranswick brings home the bacon as sales rise

PORK supplier Cranswick yesterday said that its first half sales rose in-line with expectations, helped by an acquisition.<br /><br />Cranswick &ndash; which supplies fresh pork and gourmet sausages to the UK&rsquo;s food retail and manufacturing sectors &ndash; said the business had been impacted by a rise in pig prices, although these now appear to have peaked.<br /><br />Pig prices started the financial year at 145p per kg, they peaked at 156p per kg in July, but have since fallen back slightly to around 151p.<br /><br />Analysts cheered the group&rsquo;s robust trading in the six months of the year, despite the absence of the promised BBQ summer which would normally boost sausage sales.<br /><br />Excluding sales from its pet business, turnover rose 19 per cent in the six months to 30 September 2009, of which seven per cent was related to the newly acquired Cranswick Country Foods Norfolk.<br /><br />The sale of Cranswick&rsquo;s pet business was completed in April.<br /><br />Net debt fell during the period, reflecting the net cash inflow from operations and corporate activity, partly offset by a seasonal increase in working capital.<br /><br />Panmure Gordon analyst Graham Jones said: &ldquo;Despite continued pig price inflation, Cranswick is continuing to manage cost pressures well, and margins are similar to last year.&rdquo;