The business reported revenues up by 6.6% at £1,069.6M for the year ended March 31 2016, compared with £1,003.3M in the prevous year.
Cranswick, the third largest pig producer in the UK, said it had completed the successful integration of cooked poultry producer Benson Park. It also ended the year with the acquisition of Crown Chicken, a leading integrated poultry producer, for £39.3M.
It also revealed £34M of capital investment, which funded additional capacity, equipment upgrades, improved operational efficiencies and increased resource in product innovation.
Full-year sales volumes were 12% higher than the previous year, as both customers and UK consumers continued to benefit from lower pork prices, it said. Strong sales growth was seen across most categories including poultry from Benson Park.
Reported profit before taxation was £58.7M and earnings per share were 91.5p. Adjusted profit before tax was £65.7M, an increase of 13.7% on the previous year.
Total export volumes
Total export volumes grew by 23% compared with the previous year. There was volume growth of 32% in Far Eastern markets, 7% in the US and 8% across the rest of the world.
Fresh pork sales grew by 9%, in part driven by the recovery of business with one of the group's principal retail customers. Record numbers of pigs were processed through its two facilities with numbers regularly exceeding 50,000 aweek.
A £6M redevelopment was underway at its Norfolk facility, which will replace the existing abattoir, increase capacity, improve efficiencies and facilitate the sites push for United States Department of Agriculture accreditation.
Cooked meat sales fell by 4%, reflecting overall category deflation and lower volumes to one retail customer.
However, it said volumes for this category returned to growth in the final quarter.
It planned "substantial capital investment" at its Sutton Fields facility to expand into new categories. It was also looking to develop further capability to supply slow cook and food-to-go ranges to manufacturing and food service customers.
£2M was being invested
Sausage sales were 1% higher supported by strong volume growth of 5%. The premium sector of the market was the main driver of category growth, it said. Further capital investment was underway at the Lazenby's facility in Hull and £2M was being invested to reinstate sausage production capability at its Norfolk facility.
Bacon and gammon sales were 12% ahead as the company continued the development of hand-cured, air-dried bacon. This growth was underpinned by gaining sole supply status for premium bacon and gammons with one of the group’s lead retail customers. The redevelopment and conversion of the former Kingston Foods site in Milton Keynes into a gammon facility was completed during the year.
Sales of premium poultry from Benson Park grew by 24%. Cranswick said a £9M capital investment programme, which was underway when the business was acquired in October 2014, had been completed.
Pastry sales were 31% ahead of the prior year. New product lines were launched which, coupled with a strong Christmas and seasonal promotional programme, helped drive top-line growth.
Sales of continental products increased by 11%, reflecting the consumer’s “strong appetite for speciality continental products including charcuterie, cheeses, pasta and olives”, it said.
Sandwich sales grew by 3% supported by new contract wins.
Cranswick chairman Martin Davey said: “The past year has been one of strong commercial growth and continued strategic development for Cranswick. This has enabled sales, which exceeded £1bn for the first time a year ago, to progress further.
“Aligned with well-invested and efficient production facilities, skilled management teams and a strong balance sheet this gives the board confidence that Cranswick is well positioned to meet the challenges that may arise and to continue its successful long-term development.”
Read why City analysts judged the manufacturer's results to be an “outstanding performance”.
Cranswick results at a glance
- Revenue up 6.6% at £1,069.6m
- Underlying revenue up 4.7%
- Adjusted group operating margin of 6.2%
- Statutory profit before tax up 11% to £58.7M
- Statutory earnings per share 8.8% higher at 91.5p