Cranswick raises dividend

Pork supplier Cranswick increased its dividend yesterday after posting a 21 per cent rise in annual pre-tax profits, to a record £43.8m. Increased demand from supermarkets, particularly for higher-end products, is credited for better than expected growth. The company, which has supply contracts with Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference and Tesco, raised its divided more than 15 per cent, to 25p in total for the year. The firm’s recent acquisition, pork producer and supplier Bowes of Norfolk, contributed to a 22 per cent rise in sales for the year, up to £740m in total. This strong cash flow has allowed the company to pay down debts by £11.9m, leaving £54.7m debt at the end of March. Sales of air-dried bacon were a major growth area, up 61 per cent.