Cranswick, the sausage and meats producer, beat off a field of 700 to grab the Framlington Innovativ...
Cranswick, the sausage and meats producer, beat off a field of 700 to grab the Framlington Innovative Growth award for 2001/2002.
The award, launched this year and sponsored jointly by Framlington Innovative Growth Investment Trust and Incisive Media, publishers of Investment Week, honoured smaller companies that have successfully introduced innovations that have produced real returns for shareholders and improved the lot of the community at large.
Nigel Griffiths MP, the small business minister, welcomed the award, claiming Britain's innovative companies do not get enough recognition in this country.
He said Britain's position as the fourth largest economy in the world, but with only the 20th largest population, is testimony to the innovative nature of its small and medium-sized enterprises.
Cranswick triumphed in a close contest that saw the original list whittled down to first 16 contenders and then to four semi-finalists.
The three runners-up ' housebuilder Countryside Properties, fire safety specialist IFTE and housing association adviser Hacas ' were all highly commended.
A combination of a fine trading record, successful introduction of new products, use of innovations such as free range pigs and a soaring share price tipped the balance towards Cranswick in the eyes of the judges.
Originally an animal feed producer, the Yorkshire-based company has diversified and now not only produces the feed but also grows the pigs, cuts the meat and makes the sausages that go into the shops.
It is one of only three suppliers to Sainsbury's. Tesco and Asda are also customers.
Cranswick's trading performance has been sure-footed at a time when fierce competition has hurt rivals. Earnings have grown at a compound rate of 24% over the past five years and the share price has doubled in the past year to 849p.
Countryside Properties made the shortlist through a combination of a strong trading record and innovative use of reclaimed or 'brownfield' sites to build its houses.
IFTE is best known for its fire training simulators at airports, which firemen use to learn how to deal with aircraft fires.
Aim-listed Hacas was originally a Government-controlled quango but, since being privatised, it has grown to become a key adviser for the UK's growing number of housing associations, advising on how to structure and implement social housing projects. The panel of judges consisted of Brian Watson from Framlington Growth IT, Richard Rae from ABN Amro and Philip Whiterow and David Walker from Incisive Media.
Cranswick operates in the pet supply, agribusiness and food sectors in the United Kingdom. The pet division supplies tropical marine fish and related supplies. Agribusinesses produce and supply pig feed. The food division produces pork and ham from pigs raised on Cranswick's farms, with a subsidiary that provides pork butchery, retail packing and gourmet sausage manufacturing.
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