Cadbury trading on track despite bitter year

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cadbury schweppes, Cadbury plc, Cadbury uk, Chocolate

Weak performance in the UK combined with financial irregularities
in Nigerian operations has added up to an unsettled year for global
confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes, according to a trading
update announced today.

The company struggled to recover from plunging sales in the British market after the discovery of salmonella in chocolate samples sparked a recall of prominent brands in June and has now raised the expected market loss from £20m (€29.6m) to £30m (€44.5m) due to manufacturing costs.

Further controversy followed last month when financial figures for the chocolate-maker's Nigeria operations were found to be falsely optimistic - prompting an ongoing review by investigative accountants.

Reports from the investigation have so far confirmed a "significant and deliberate overstatement of the company's financial position over a number of years,"​ according to Cadbury's trading statement.

The company expects operating loss from the Nigerian business in 2006 to total £5m (€7.4m) - £10m (€14.8m) but says trading overall remains in line with expectations.

Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer said: "2006 has been a challenging year for Cadbury Schweppes with very strong performances across large parts of our business partly offset by events in the UK and Nigeria.

"Although these have taken the edge off another year of strategic and operating progress for the group, our performance in 2006 will be in line with previous guidance. As we move forward into 2007, we believe that the fundamentals of our business remain strong."

Cadbury said trading had been adversely affected by high commodity costs, investment in growth and a "challenging"​ year in the UK.

However the company, who own the Dairy Milk, Flake and Crunchie brands, said trading would be in line with earlier forecasts and was bolstered by strong performances in the global market.

In the US gum sector, new brand, Stride, took a 2.7 per cent share of the $3.6bn (€2.7bn) industry while already-established products such as Trident benefited from new packaging and flavours.

As part of the drive to aid recovery in the British market, Cadbury plans to enter the domestic gum sector at the end of January with the launch of the Trident brand and, in the run-up to Christmas the company invested in new innovations Flake Dark and Cadburys Melts.

Related topics: Manufacturers, Mondeléz International

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