Cranswick boosted by robust Christmas performance

Cranswick has seen strong sales in charcuterie
Cranswick has seen strong sales in charcuterie
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Upmarket sausages to bacon producer Cranswick said its annual profits will beat expectations despite competitive trading over Christmas.

The Hull-based firm said export sales have been exceptionally strong as the outbreak of African Swine Fever has created opportunities for Far Eastern exports.

The company said that a "robust performance" had continued over the important Christmas period.

Revenue continued to grow in each of its four categories - fresh pork, poultry, convenience and gourmet products.

The company has started to invest more in its pig farms, including an acquisition of Packington Pork late last year.

Cranswick said the Far East has been hit by a serious outbreak of African swine fever, leaving a space for British companies to fill the void.

However, the UK will need to stay free of the deadly virus.

"The UK industry remains on high alert with intensive biosecurity protocols in place," the firm said.

Figures show that Chinese pork production had fallen to a 16-year low after a major swine fever outbreak in the country.

The outbreak, and a subsequent rise in meat prices, has caused inflation to soar in the world's largest pork market.

In 2018, Cranswick's pre-tax profit hit £86.5m.

Analyst Darren Shirley at Shore Capital upgraded his current pre-tax profit forecasts by 11 per cent to £97.5m.

"Whilst the upgrade is not a surprise, we have flagged the potential since the group's November interim results, it is very welcome," he said.

"Cranswick is a class act with excellent management, a clear strategy, balanced growth, very well-invested manufacturing facilities and a long-term approach to its supply chain and vertical integration."