Pork producer Cranswick toasts buoyant third quarter - and boost to Far East exports

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton - On the production line. Picture; Matthew Usher.

Cranswick Country Foods in Watton - On the production line. Picture; Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

Exports to the Far East helped drive a buoyant third quarter for pork producer Cranswick, which posted a 5pc boost to revenue.

The EDP Top100 firm, which employs more than 1,000 people in Norfolk, said the uplift in sales for the three months to December 31 was driven by a strong Christmas trading period.

The group, which has a plant in Watton, said the revenue boost was thanks to strong volume growth of 11pc, and was in line with the board's expectations.

Cranswick, founded in 1972, said volumes shipped to the Far East were 28pc ahead of the same quarter last year. It added underlying revenue was 4pc higher than the same period last year, with corresponding volumes up 10pc as the effect of falling pork prices was passed on to customers. UK pig prices, which have been falling for 10 consecutive weeks, fell to 113p per kilo for the week ending January 23.

In a statement, the group said: 'Cranswick continues to work closely with its customers and to maintain its focus on service, quality and innovation to deliver exciting, competitively priced products in market conditions that are expected to remain competitive through the remainder of the financial year.

'With experienced management at all levels of the group, a strong range of products, a well-invested asset base and a robust financial position, the board remains confident in the continued long-term success and development of the business.'

The sales uplift comes as the firm saw revenues reach the £1bn mark for the first time for the year ending March 31 2015, up from £995m the year before.

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Statutory pre-tax profits fell 3.5pc to £52.8m though excluding a number of accounting charges were ahead 10.6pc to £57.8m on an adjusted basis.

Late last year the group also announced £6m of investment at its Norfolk plant, to upgrade its production line in a bid to meet strict United States Department of Agriculture regulations – and boost exports to the US. Underlying revenue in both the current and prior financial years excluded the contribution from Benson Park before to October 22 and sales from the pig breeding, rearing and trading activities.

Is your business experiencing a record year? Call Sabah Meddings on 01603 772879 or email sabah.medding@archant.co.uk

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