* H1 pretax profit 22.5 mln stg vs 18.5 mln stg last year
* Revenue up 6 pct at 418.6 mln stg
* Raises interim dividend to 9.4 pence from 9 pence
* Shares up 7 pct
By Karen Rebelo
Nov 26 British pork processor Cranswick Plc
reported a 21 percent rise in first-half profit as it
passed on higher pig prices to its customers, sending its shares
up 7 percent.
The company last month warned that pig prices in the United
Kingdom were at a three-year high and were expected to continue
rising, driven by high livestock feed prices and implementation
of animal welfare norms in Europe.
"The fact that Cranswick has successfully managed to secure
price increases from the retailers underpinning our (full-year
earnings) forecasts should be well received," Panmure Gordon
analyst Damian McNeela said in a note.
Shares in the company, whose supermarket customers include J
Sainsbury and Tesco Plc, were up 7.58 percent
at 795 pence on the London Stock Exchange at 0846 GMT.
Cranswick's Finance Director Mark Bottomley told Reuters on
Monday he did not expect pig prices to rise sharply during the
run-up to Christmas.
"Costs are stabilising now, they are round about just a
touch over 160 pence per kilo," Bottomley said.
"We have seen in the last couple of weeks the increases
haven't been so high," he added.
Cranswick processes and supplies fresh pork, sausage, bacon,
cooked meats, charcuterie, pastry products and sandwiches to
April-September pretax profit rose 21 percent to 22.5
million pounds ($36 million). Revenue increased 6 percent, with
underlying revenue up 5 percent.
Cranswick, which supplies to brands such as Weight Watchers
and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's food products range,
said sausage sales increased 15 percent during the period
despite unusually soggy weather in the UK.
The Hull-based company has so far benefited from
cost-conscious Britons opting for pork as cheaper alternative to
beef, lamb and poultry.