Meat producer Cranswick maintains 2023 outlook on tight check on costs

2 minute read

Dumidru Voicu nets meat at Cranswick Convenience Foods in Milton Keynes, Britain November 20, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples

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May 24 (Reuters) - British meat producer Cranswick (CWK.L) on Tuesday stood by its outlook for the current fiscal year and reported higher annual profit, as it continues to rein in costs stemming from inflation, labour shortages, and supply chain issues.

Cranswick, which traces its roots to a pig farming collective in Yorkshire, said the price of cereals, which represent 60%-70% of the cost of growing an animal, jumped by over 50% after the Ukraine crisis began.

The crisis has exacerbated the British meat industry's woes and Britons are cutting back on meat consumption amid soaring inflation, even as the sector still grapples with a shortage of butchers after a Brexit-led labour crisis.

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Cranswick called on the British government to do more for the pig sector which it said was under "severe and unsustainable strain" from these challenges.

The company produces fresh pork, bacon, gourmet sausages, poultry items and continental foods. It caters mainly to the British market but exports some goods too, and retail chains account for the majority of Cranswick's sales.

Tesco (TSCO.L), Britain's biggest supermarket group, said last week it had secured 6.6 million pounds more to support the country's struggling pig industry.

However, Cranswick Chief Executive Officer Adam Couch said that trading in the new financial year had been in line with the board's expectations.

"Notwithstanding the challenging operating conditions we continue to experience, our outlook for the group for the current year is unchanged," he added.

Adjusted pre-tax profit stood at 136.9 million pounds ($172.2 million) for the 52 weeks to March 26. Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 136.3 million pounds, according to Refinitiv Eikon data.

($1 = 0.7950 pounds)

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Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Uttaresh.V

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