Cranswick ramps up profit

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LONDON (ShareCast) - Bacon and sausage supplier Cranswick (LSE: CWK.L - news) served up a hefty increase in half year profit, but warned higher pig prices during the period was an ongoing concern.

Pre-tax profit rose 21% to £22.5m for the six months ended September 30th, while revenues climbed 6.0% to £418.6m.

Cranswick's Chairman, Martin Davey, said he was pleased to report continued sales growth, in what continues to be a difficult economic and consumer environment.

"Rising input costs were a feature of trading during the period and this has continued into the second half, although efficiency improvements brought about by investment undertaken by the business and ongoing constructive pricing discussions with customers have helped offset the full impact of this," Davey explained.

Underlying revenues increased by 5.0% while earnings per share advanced 23% to 35.8p.

Cranswick said Kingston Foods, which it bought at the end of June, made an encouraging contribution since acquisition, boosting Cranswick's customer portfolio and its cooked meat production capability.

Net (Xetra: A0Z22E - news) debt reduced to £32.2m during the period compared to £48.2m for the same period last year.

"The board currently anticipates a more balanced trading performance between the first and second halves compared to last year when there was a strong second half bias. The strategy for the development of the business remains unchanged with future growth being generated by a combination of acquisitions and organic initiatives".

The dividend has been increased to 9.4p per share from 9p before.

CJ