FTSE 250 food producer Cranswick posted a jump in full-year pre-tax profit on Tuesday as revenue grew, with strong volumes across all of its divisions.
In the year to the end of March 2018, adjusted pre-tax profit was up 22.4% to £92.4m on revenue of £1.5bn, up 17.6%, driven by robust growth across all product categories including further increases in exports.
Like-for-like revenue was 12.7% higher on the previous year, with each of Cranswick's categories delivering positive volume growth, ahead of overall category market performance. Stronger pricing in the first half reflected partial recovery of higher input costs compared to those experienced in the same period last year, while input costs eased in the second half, with this downward trend reflected in selling prices.
Adjusted earnings per share on continuing operations were 19.9% higher at 145.0p and the company lifted its full-year dividend by 21.8% to 53.7p.
Chief executive Adam Couch said: "We have delivered a strong financial performance for the year and made further progress in delivering our strategy.
"We spent a record £59m across our already well invested asset base. This brings the total investment in our infrastructure over the last eight years to over £270m.
"Over the last 12 months we have strengthened our asset base, enhanced market positions and developed new customer relationships. We continue to make good progress against each of our strategic objectives and we are well placed to continue our successful development in the current financial year and over the longer term."
Cranswick said trading in the current financial year, which will be weighted more towards the second half, has started in line with management's expectations and the company is well positioned "to continue its successful development in the current year and going forward".
At 1235 BST, the shares
were up 3.6% to 3,255.48p.
Numis said the results were "strong" and the outlook "positive" .
"We think the business is well positioned to deliver further growth underpinned by volume growth but maintain forecasts for adjusted profit before tax growth of 5% to around £97.0m," it said, reiterating its 'add' rating and 3,450p price target.
Meanwhile, Shore Capital said the results confirm another year of "outstanding growth".
"In the short term with major investment initiatives still ongoing (Continental) and indeed set to commence in poultry we look for FY2019 to be a year of consolidation and more normalised mid-single digit growth, hence our broadly unchanged forecasts and earnings per share expectation of 150p," it said.