UK drinks and confectionery group Cadbury Schweppes this week announced a strong financial performance for 2001.Sales rose 21 per cent to reach £5,519m (€9.02m), up from £4,575 m in 2000 and underlying profit (before tax) was up 18 per cent to £992m from £841m last year.
John Sunderland, CEO of Cadbury Schweppes, said: "2001 was an excellent year. With underlying earnings per share growth of 16 per cent and free cash flow of £397 million we exceeded our goals for both measures. Volume growth was in line with our expectations and we remain committed to our financial targets for 2002.''
A strong performance from the beverages operations boosted the results, particularly influenced by Mott's and Europe Beverages performance. Despite a sluggish carbonates market in the US and the integration programme in Australia, both Dr Pepper/Seven Up and Australian beverages had a good year. Snapple Beverages Group had a sound first year, despite a strong internal focus on integration. Dr Pepper/Seven Up Bottling Group also performed well.
However, the company reported weaker results for the confectionery businesses in the UK, attributed to disruption caused by the integration of the UK chocolate and sugar confectionery businesses, combined with difficult trading environments. Good results for confectionery came from Australia (volume up 6 per cent), France, China, Poland and Russia where Cadbury expects its business to be profitable this year.
The Board proposed a final dividend of 7.65 pence, taking the total dividend for the year to 11 pence, an increase of 5 per cent. The dividend will be paid on 24 May 2002 to Ordinary Shareholders on the Register at the close of business on 22 February 2002.