(updates with details of sale of pig feed business)
LONDON (Thomson Fi
nancial) - Cranswick PLC, the Yorkshire-based food producer, reported a record set of full-year results, and announced the sale of its pig feed business.
Pretax profit before exceptional gains for the year to end-March increased 12 pct to 32.4 mln stg, from 29 mln stg the previous year. Sales rose by 19 pct to 525 mln stg, from 441 mln stg the year before.
Chairman Martin Davey said underlying sales growth was particularly strong resulting in an increase in market share, which was further enhanced by Cranswick's acquisition of DeliCo last November.
He said the company has seen strong sales increases across most food categories as it positioned itself in a number of growing, premium areas of the market.
Cranswick's other activity, which is involved in the pet and aquatic sector, saw a marginal reduction in sales reflecting higher aquatic sales but a decline in bird food.
Davey said the company anticipates further sales increases over the next year, adding that the current year has 'commenced in an encouraging manner'.
Meanwhile, Cranswick announced the sale of the feed milling business, its original activity, saying the trading environment has been 'particularly challenging' in recent years following the substantial reduction in the UK pig herd.
The sale will result in a cash inflow and reduction in working capital of about 7 mln stg.
The board is proposing a 10 pct increase in the final dividend to 12.2 pence per share. That makes a total dividend of 18.1 pence, also up 10 pct.
Cranswick was formed by farmers in the early 1970s to make pig feed.
However, in the late 1990s, it embarked on a strategy to broaden its activities, seeking opportunities in related markets. It is now focused predominantly on the supply of premium food products.
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