Brexit's Really Butchered This Meat Shop Owner's Share PriceBy
Crawshaw chief executive, finance chief to leave company
Stock plunged after sterling depreciation cut into margins
Brexit appears to have taken a cleaver to the shares of Crawshaw Group Plc, a 64-year-old Yorkshire meat retailer that has persistently warned of the dangers of sterling’s depreciation to its margins.
The stock plunged as much as 34 percent on Friday after its chief executive officer and chief financial officer both quit, taking the decline since Britons voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 to 95 percent. The challenging trading conditions were exasperated by harsher than usual weather as freezing easterly winds blanketed the country in snow, the company said in Friday’s statement announcing the board changes.
CEO Noel Collett, formerly chief operating officer at Lidl’s U.K. business, will step down “to pursue other opportunities,” while CFO Alan Richardson will leave in early May “to take up an opportunity outside the group,” it said. Both executives have been in their positions since 2015.
Crawshaw has attempted to reverse the decline by accelerating the roll-out of “factory shops” that offer bulk-buying discounts to consumers. It also announced a strategic partnership with Ranjit Boparan, the entrepreneur dubbed the “Chicken King” by U.K. media, in April last year, giving it greater access to poultry supplied by Boparan’s 2 Sisters Food Group. Boparan also took a 29.9 percent stake in Crawshaw as part of the deal.
The tough year-to-date trading is “unsurprising,” Peel Hunt analyst Charles Hall said in a note to clients. He’s putting his buy rating under review, “until we have clarity on the future direction of the business.” Peel Hunt also represents the company as its corporate broker.
Crawshaw had a market capitalization of about 75 million pounds ($106 million) at its 2015 peak. That has shrunk to just 4.4 million pounds, with shares trading down 31 percent as of 12:55 p.m in London.