In its unaudited results for the 26 weeks to 26 September 2020, the pork processor reported that sales were up 21% to £931.6m, while adjusted group operating profit grew 30.8% to £62m.
Cranswick’s financial success was achieved despite the extremely difficult environment caused by the outbreak of COVID-19, which resulted in the short-term closure of its Ballymena plant and reduced capacity at the Watton site.
Despite this, the spread of the virus and subsequent lockdowns have seen like-for-like sales of the manufacturer’s convenience products grow 21.5% compared with the same period last year.
Accounting for 39% of group revenue, convenience sales growth was driven by fewer people eating outside home, supported by contract wins with two of Cranswick’s big retail customers.
Fresh pork accounted for 31% of the company’s revenue, up 6.9% on a like-for-like basis thanks to strong retail and export demand. However, this was partially offset by the COVID-19 operational challenges which temporarily halted exports to China.
Despite the disruption, Cranswick invested a further £7.3m across its three pork primary processing facilities and its farming infrastructure to increase automation, improve and expand farming capacity and enhance its sustainability.
Poultry sales up
Gourmet products and poultry separately represented 15% of group revenue, with the latter growing 34.9%. That was mainly attributed to the contribution of the new Eye poultry facility operating at full capacity throughout the period and further export revenue growth.
Commenting on the results, chief executive Adam Couch said: “We have made a strong start to the year. Although we remain cautious about the longer-term economic impact of COVID-19 and the continued uncertainty surrounding the ongoing Brexit negotiations, we are well positioned to address these challenges.
“Our outlook for the current year is unchanged and we have a solid platform from which to continue Cranswick’s successful long-term development.”