SAUSAGE maker Cranswick has bucked tough conditions in the grocery market and record pig prices to post strong fourth quarter results yesterday.
The FTSE 250 firm, which supplies supermarkets including Sainsbury’s with upmarket sausages and cooked meats, said underlying sales excluding acquisitions were up 12 per cent in the year to 31 March.
Analysts forecast the group to report pre-tax profits of around £51m when it updates the market in May compared with adjusted profits of £49.3m the previous year.
Cranswick battled with a weak grocery market and record high pig prices, caused by higher demand for British pork and European pig welfare reforms which came into force last year. Efficiency improvements, pricing and moves taken to rear its own pigs, have helped to offset high prices.
Nevertheless, it said margins are expected “slightly below” the 5.7 per cent seen a year earlier as a result. It made a string of acquisitions to expand its in-house pig-rearing business and cut costs, taking producting levels to 15-20 per cent of processing requirements.
Shore Capital analyst said: “With a clear focus on premium British, we believe Cranswick has now satisfied its requirement for its two biggest customers.”
Cranswick said its new £12m factory in North Yorkshire, which focuses on making premium pastry products for Marks & Spencer, was progressing well after opening last summer.