CRANSWICK PLC has said a new long-term supply arrangement with Wm Morrisons supermarket will see it fast-tracking its investment into its poultry processing plant in Eye, Suffolk.

The £75m investment will see capacity lifted at the site from 0.5m to 1.2m birds a week, and “further investment” in the company’s poultry-related agricultural operations will support the expansion, Cranswick said.

The company made the comments in its fullyear results which cover the period to 31 March this year.

Chicken represents just shy of 40% of Cranswick’s retail volume, with poultry sales by value up 18% over the period. Volume growth for the category was 14.2%, the company said.

Overall revenues at the business fell by 1.9% to £1.44bn, while pre-tax profit was down £1.5m to £86.5m over the period.

Cranswick said its export prices had risen sharply in the second half of the year, as African Swine Fever had an impact on global markets – like for like, exports to the far east were up 16% when compared with the previous period.

Adam Couch, Cranswick’s CEO said: “The last year was one of consolidation following three years of very strong growth. 

“We delivered this year’s results against a backdrop of highly competitive market conditions and ongoing, Brexit related, political and economic uncertainty.

“We invested at record levels across our asset base and made further strong progress against our strategic objectives.  We continue to build a platform and lay down the pipeline for future growth.”