Cranswick temporarily ceases production at a site after outbreak

Adam Couch, CEO of CranswickAdam Couch, CEO of Cranswick
Adam Couch, CEO of Cranswick
Upmarket food producer Cranswick has temporarily ceased production at its Ballymena factory as part of attempts to control a local coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this week, Hull-based Cranswick voluntarily ceased exports to China from its Ballymena plant due to a community coronavirus outbreak in Mid and North County Antrim.

Analysts at Shore Capital said they believe Cranswick will cease production at Ballymena, the smallest of its three primary pig processing facilities, for two to three weeks.

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Analyst Clive Black at Shore Capital said: "Cranswick has an excellent reputation as a high-quality food manufacturer and it is one of the few meat processors in the world to have Class 1 Business Benchmark Farm Animal Welfare (BBFAW) status.

"Hence, the group will be most concerned about the welfare of pigs not processed in Northern Ireland during this short-term production interruption and we would imagine that the region’s pig farmers and the Ulster Farmers’ Union will be seeking support from the Northern Ireland government to support the farming industry through this challenge and to re-open the plant at the earliest possible opportunity.

"Whilst an inconvenience outside the group’s direct control, we believe that Cranswick’s two major pig processing units in England can comfortably meet customer requirements whilst Ballymena is down and, given the anticipated short-term nature of the plant’s closure, we would not anticipate any discernible earnings impact whatsoever."

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