Cadbury chief claims Kraft offer “unappealing prospect”

Cadbury chairman Roger Carr has written an open letter to Kraft explaining in greater detail why the chocolate manufacturer’s “unique position” meant that the board could not entertain Kraft’s initial £10.2 billion acquisition offer.

Cadbury products
Cadbury products

He criticises Kraft as being “a company with a considerably less focused business mix and historically lower growth.”

Carr adds: “Under your proposal, Cadbury would be absorbed into Kraft’s low growth, conglomerate business model, an unappealing prospect which contrasts sharply with our strategy to be a pure play confectionery company.

Carr’s open letter goes on to say: “Over the past few years, Cadbury has completed a major corporate transformation through the acquisition of Adams and the demerger and sale of our beverage businesses. The disposal of Beverages provides the clear business focus we believe essential to achieve outstanding performance.

“We have created a pure play confectionery business with strong brands occupying leading market positions in both developed markets and high growth emerging economies – a business of considerable inherent value, impossible to replicate and with a unique position in the global confectionery market. We have a clear set of targets, a track record of delivery accepted by the market and value enhancing plans to further exploit our proven growth platforms.

He added that Cadbury had demonstrated through its performance to date that it had “the scale, capabilities and resource” to deliver on its commitments to shareholders and that had been increasing spend on marketing and science and technology to drive innovation.

Carr says: “We have been able to demonstrate both organic and inorganic growth. The acquisition of Adams, together with more recent acquisitions, including Intergum and Sansei, provided scale and new growth opportunities in attractive product areas of gum and candy together with exposure to emerging markets that complemented our powerful British Commonwealth heritage.

“We understand the attraction of our business and fully appreciate the value and benefits it would offer to those looking for superior growth and exposure to our attractive product segments and markets. Equally, the quality of our management, the momentum of our business, the power of our brands, the strength of our market positions and the spread of our global footprint continue to underpin our belief in the business and its prospects as an independent entity.”

Kraft has not yet tabled a second offer or indicated whether it will now become a “hostile” bidder. Other companies, such as Mars and Hershey, are thought to be considering bids.

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