Cranswick snaps up East Anglian Pigs

Cranswick, a major UK food producer, has announced its acquisition of the pig-rearing business East Anglian Pigs (EAP) today, in a bid to fully integrate its operations.

Chief executive of Cranswick Adam Couch told MeatInfo.co.uk that Cranswick had been in discussion with EAP for some time and said the sale made sense.

“It will allow us to get closer to being fully integrated and make decisions quicker as the supply chain is shorter. It is a strategic acquisition and we are looking to invest further into the operation in the future.”

Couch also explained that it will give the company further control over the supply chain and said: “We have seen in recent months how fragile supply chains can be and it’s important that we make our mark. This was a logical conclusion to how we are doing things.”

The pig company EAP is involved in breeding, rearing and finishing in the British premium outdoor pig sector and the buyout will help to shorten Cranswick’s supply chain.

City analysts at Shore Capital said the purchase price was not disclosed, but believed it could have been worth around £11.8m, as the business was a profitable one and had large assets.

Analysts also highlighted the purchase as a sign of Cranswick returning to some of its agricultural roots, in order to shorten its supply chain and increase its added value through animal welfare. Shore Capital analysts Clive Black and Darren Shirley said: “The focus of the business is premium outdoor pig-rearing, with the division’s products accredited under leading British welfare systems operated by the RSPCA (Freedom Foods) and the Red Tractor scheme.”

Current supplier to Cranswick

The buyout will not be bringing new pork to the market for Cranswick, as EAP has been supplying the company’s Watton fresh pork processing facility in Norfolk for some time. According to analysts, the acquisition will see EAP move to the Cranswick family, but remain as a separate operation.

Shore Capital also pointed out that the purchase was made at an “unusual” time in the pig industry, as there has been a recent decline in the UK’s sufficiency in fresh pork and the country is now only 50% self-sufficient.

Black and Shirley added: “Within these contexts there is a growing interest and possibly imperative for UK retailers to source high-quality and high-welfare accredited British pork.”