Annual revenue was up 0.8% to £1.3bn for the year ending March 31, Cranswick said today.
The results were “more than commendable”, said Shore Capital analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley.
‘Flat UK food market’
“Against a backdrop of a broadly flat UK food market, and growing deflation across its key pork category … [the results] highlight the strength and quality of Cranswick’s growth strategy, management team, production facilities and higher category range.”
Profit before tax rose by 10% to £57.8M compared to the same period last year, while net debt rose by £300,000 to £17.3M, the results said.
Significant investments of £21M had been made across Cranswick’s already “industry leading” facilities, said Black and Shirley. Yet, the level of investment was far below what they had expected, they added.
However, the acquisition of the poultry firm Benson Park for £18M in October last year would see Cranwick boost investment this year, they claimed.
“We believe this was an excellent strategic fit for the group, diversifying its protein exposure and increasing participation in the fast growing food-to-go market,” Black and Shirley said.
Benson’s trading had so far been in line with expectations and Cranswick’s management had confirmed a £5M investment in the site as a result, the analysts added.
Investment in Benson Park would be completed in autumn this year, they believed.
“We nudge up our FY2016 capex forecast to £28M (from £25M) to reflect the timing impact [of the Benson Park acquisition],” Black and Shirley said.
Cranswick chairman Martin Davey said: “I am pleased to report that Cranswick has made excellent strategic and commercial progress in the past year.
“The board’s strategy for the development of the protein base and customer profile of the business was illustrated by the acquisition of Benson Park.
“This, in conjunction with our growing international export channels and strategy of diversifying our product portfolio, leaves the board confident that Cranswick is well positioned to continue its successful long term development.”