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May 20, 2013

The week ahead – M&S, Dairy Crest FYs, Hormel Foods H1s

UK meat processor Cranswick, dairy group Dairy Crest and Marks and Spencer, perhaps the most scrutinised name on the country's high street, are all set to announce annual results next week. In the US, Spam owner Hormel Foods will post its half-year results.

By Dean Best

UK meat processor Cranswick, dairy group Dairy Crest and Marks and Spencer, perhaps the most scrutinised name on the country’s high street, are all set to announce annual results next week. In the US, Spam owner Hormel Foods will post its half-year results.

Monday 20 May

Cranswick, the UK pork supplier, will report its full-year numbers. The company, which supplies the major UK multiples, is expected to book a solid set of results, with Investec forecasting a 7% increase in pre-tax profits. Last month, Cranswick snapped up pig rearing business East Anglian Pigs in a move to boost supplies, seen as a wise move as consumers look for high-welfare products.

Tuesday 21 May

On Tuesday, the market will hear one of the more eagerly-awaited sets of numbers in the consumer and retail sectors when under-fire Marks and Spencer reports its annual results. That said, M&S’s food operations have, in recent years, ticked over nicely; it has been its clothing business under scrutiny. M&S’s food division booked a robust 4% increase in Q4 LFLs last month.

Tuesday will see Marks and Spencer supplier Greencore report its half-year results. The Ireland-based firm is one of the largest own-label suppliers in the UK and has been expanding in the US in recent years. Analysts expect growth to be driven by Greencore’s US business amid a challenging UK grocery market. Some also expect Greencore’s US arm to turn its first profit in this fiscal year.

Thursday 23 May

Dairy Crest is the third notable UK firm in our sector to book FY figures next week. It has been a significant year for the Cathedral City cheese owner. It quit France in June when it sold its St Hubert business. The company said it would use the proceeds to pay down debt and possibly acquire brands in the UK. Dairy Crest has yet to pounce but has revised its capital structure and invested funds in its pension scheme. The company, meanwhile, has restructured its challenging UK dairies division.

US food group Hormel Foods is set to reports its half-year numbers on Thursday. The company upped its full-year earnings forecast after higher profits in the first quarter. Hormel will likely provide an indication of the early performance of peanut butter brand Skippy, which it bought from Unilever in January. The deal diversified its business, which at its core is focused on protein. An update on how commodity costs are affecting the business is likely, while Hormel is looking to expand its fledgling overseas business with a recent import and distribution deal with agency DKSH in Asia.

Some other notable results next week are Campbell Soup Co.‘s third-quarter figures, the Q1 numbers of Russian retailer X5 Retail Group and the full-year results of French poultry group LDC.

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