Top story

Pork supplier Cranswick (CWK) has told the market this morning that its first half revenues were 10% up year-on-year, which is slightly ahead of the board’s expectations.

Total revenues in the six months to 30 September 2015 were 10% ahead of the same period last year, driven by strong volume growth across most product categories and a positive contribution from its Benson Park poultry business.

Underlying sales were 7% higher and corresponding volumes were up 10% as its customers continued to benefit from lower input prices.

Cranswick also announced a £6m investment in its Norfolk primary processing facility with begin in the third quarter. The investment will increase capacity and operating efficiencies as well as underpinning the plant’s efforts to gain USDA accreditation.

A “major” capital investment programme at Benson Park will be commissioned ahead of the 2015 Christmas period.

Cranswick will announce its interim results on 30 November.

Morning update

After a hectic end to proceedings yesterday as news broke that Quorn has been sold for £550m to Philippines-based food group Monde Nissin, this morning is a little quieter in terms of newsflow.

Britvic (BVIC) has confirmed the completion of its acquisition of Brazilian drinks firm Empresa Brasileira de Bebidas e Alimentos SA (Ebba). The £120.8m deal, announced in July, was completed on 30 September. Ebba has a market leading position in the Brazilian liquid dilutes category.

Scotmid Co-operative has announced this morning it made a £2m operating profit for the 26 weeks ended 1 August 2015, just below the £2.1m profit recorded in the same period last year. “This was a solid performance in the context of the challenging retail market and the poor summer weather in Scotland,” the society said. Turnover in the period was £206m, £6m less than the equivalent six months in 2014, mainly due to the impact of closed stores.

The FTSE 100 has had another strong start to trading this morning, rising 1.5% to 6,149.7pts in early trading.

The supermarkets have eased back a little (Tesco the biggest faller down 1.2% to 182p) as investors take their profits from yesterday’s rises.Reckitt Benckiser is up 1.6% so far today to 6,083p, while Associated British Foods (ABF) is up another 1.6% to 3,393 following on from yesterday’s gains.

Cranswick has opened 2.8% up at 1,641p after this morning’s trading statement, while Britvic is 2.2% up at 693.4p after securing its Brazilian drinks acquisition. 

Yesterday in the City

The beleaguered listed supermarkets were in the unusual position of occupying three of the top four FTSE 100 risers and Sainsbury’s profits upgrade boosted the entire sector.

Sainsbury’s (SBRY) shares spiked by 13.8% to 261p after it announced yesterday that full-year profits were likely to be “moderately” ahead of its previous £548m forecast. The shares hit their highest level since early August, having previously fallen by around 15% since mid-July.

Tesco (TSCO) climbed 7% to 183.2p and Morrisons (MRW) was up 6.4% to 166.1p as Sainsbury’s improved profitability and trading momentum lifted the rest of the sector. Ocado (OCDO) rose a more modest 1.2% to 320.3p.

The supermarket rally helped the FTSE 100 roar back by 2.6% to 6,061.6pts.

Associated British Foods was also amongst the FTSE’s top movers, rising 4.2% to 3,340p, while Unilever (ULVR) rose 3.2% to 2,686p and British American Tobacco (BAT) climbed 3.5% to 3,643p after the completion of its acquisition of Central European cigarette manufacturer TDR.

The supermarket share price boost also helped Premier Foods (PFD) back up 4.1% to 32p, though it remains more than 30% down since May.

Dairy Crest (DCG) was 0.4% up to 608.5p after the CMA said it was set to accept modified undertakings offered by Müller to facilitate the £80m acquisition of its milk business.