The sausage maker proposed a final distribution of 43.7p per share, up 9.3% from last year, bringing the total dividend up 8% to 60.4p, and paid a £500 bonus to each site-based employee in recognition of their essential key worker status during the pandemic.
The FTSE 250 company said the outlook is uncertain until Brexit negotiations and trade deals with other countries are finalised.
“We are hopeful that the COVID-19 experience underlines and reinforces the importance of having a resilient and successful domestic food sector and that this is at the forefront of negotiators thoughts during discussions,” the firm commented.
In the year to March 28, revenue jumped 13% to £1.6bn, helped by higher pork prices and strong demand from China, feeding through to an 11% rise in adjusted profit before tax to £102mln.
Debt at the period end was £146mln, against £6mln in net cash recorded last year after the adoption of new accounting standards resulting in £40mln of liabilities, £64mln for acquisitions and £97mln investments in the asset base.
“Whilst management talk of a “positive” start to the year, with we believe strong growth coming from UK retail channels, enough uncertainty around Civid-19, china pork prices and Brexit remain for us to leave our prudently pitched FY2021 forecasts unchanged for now, whilst highlighting that upgrade pressure will build if current trading momentum is sustained,” house broker Shore Capital noted.
Shares rose 2% to 3,699.32p on Tuesday morning.
–Adds analyst’s comment, shares–
Published at Tue, 23 Jun 2020 07:27:00 +0000-Cranswick hikes dividend but Brexit uncertainty still looms