May 17, 2011


US gives green light to UK's Cranswick for pork export



Cranswick, a major supplier of pork to the country's supermarkets, has now been given export approval to supply the US with fresh pork.


It reported an 8% rise in pre-tax profits to GBP47.1 million (US$76.53 million) and saw fresh pork sales rise by 17% from its two processing plants at Watton and also at Preston, near Hull.


Cranswick, which supplies pork products for the Jamie Oliver brand as well as Sainsbury's and Tesco, has been approved by the US Department of Agriculture to ship fresh pork from its Yorkshire plant.


This facility at Preston, near Hull, which re-opened in January after a three-year GBP13 million (US$21.12 million) revamp, has increased capacity by 50%.


As sausage sales rose by 7% last year, the firm has invested GBP2 million (US$3.25 million) in the year in a second sausage production facility at Watton to boost weekly capacity by 200 tonnes.


Martin Davey, chairman, said, "This has been a very positive year for Cranswick. Record levels of sales and profitability have been achieved and substantial investment has been made in the asset base to improve efficiency and to provide the capacity for continued growth."


He announced that Adam Couch, managing director of the fresh pork business, has been appointed chief operating officer. He joined the company in 1991 and the board in 2003.


Chief executive Bernard Hoggath said that the group had moved into pastry and in particular gourmet style, hand crafted sausage rolls.


The company said underlying sales were ahead by 4% at GBP758 million (US$1,231.60 million) in the year to March, on volumes that were 6% higher.


While Cranswick acknowledged the financial pressure on the British pig farming sector, prices are currently rising.


"Whether it is premium quality for dining at home, value meal solutions, or even ham for the sandwich box, Cranswick must remain competitive. There is no doubt that in the categories in which the business operates, it has industry leading facilities following a GBP100 million (US$162.48 million) capital investment programme over the past five years," he added.