Tuesday 26 November 2019 6:04 pm

Cranswick’s pork sales to China surge after swine flu outbreak

Sausage-maker Cranswick said its pork exports to the far east surged by 95 per cent in the first half of the year due to the outbreak of African swine fever in China.

The disease has led to large-scale pig culls in China and sent pork prices soaring, causing domestic buyers to look elsewhere.

The boost from the far east helped Hull-based Cranswick’s profit before tax rise 11.3 per cent to £47.4m in the six months to the end of September compared to the year before.

Its earnings per share grew 10.2 per cent to 73.2p, while its revenue climbed 7.1 per cent to £770m.

Cranswick’s shares finished the day 0.87 per cent higher at 3,236p.

Adam Couch, Cranswick’s chief executive, said: “We have made a positive start to the year with reported revenue growth of 7.1 per cent underpinned by a very strong performance in our far east export markets.”

Cranswick said in its results that it anticipated sales to China and the far east staying high for a while, “provided the UK remains African swine fever free”.

Couch said: “I remain confident that continued focus on the strengths of our business, which include long-standing customer relationships, breadth, quality and relevance of our products, robust financial position and industry leading infrastructure, will support the further successful development of Cranswick over the near and longer term.”

The firm increased its interim dividend by five per cent to 16.7p. Its net debt stood at £113.7m, compared to net funds of £2.2m a year earlier.