Cadbury to beat forecasts

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The Independent Online
HALF-YEAR profits from Cadbury Schweppes, the confectionery and soft drinks manufacturer, are expected to come in at more than pounds 200m, well above most analysts' highest predictions.

The City is anticipating interim profits of between pounds 150m to pounds 200m. But well-placed sources close to the company say that the figure could be over pounds 200m.

Chairman Dominic Cadbury is also likely to sound a positive note about the company's 25.9 per cent stake in Dr Pepper, the US drinks firm.

Cadbury wants to buy Dr Pepper, but has been blocked by PepsiCo, the Pepsi-Cola group. Cadbury is not receiving any dividends from its investment, but the company is likely to say that the value of the shareholding is increasing.

Cadbury is expected to say that the company's non-cola business in the US has grown faster than its cola business. The cola business has been hit by increased competition from own-label soft drinks.

Cadbury may also give some indication of the likely impact of the new UK lottery on its business. The company was part of the consortium which won the right to run the lottery, which begins in November.

In the past few days there has been an unusually high volume of trading in Cadbury shares ahead of the results, although the share price fell 7p to close at 484p on Friday.

NatWest Securities, the broking house, suggests that Cadbury's shares should recover their poise in the next few weeks. The City has recently been nervous about the company's trading and strategy, but this appears to be fading.

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