Don't let Kraft steal Cadbury, shareholders urged

Dairy Milk firm Cadbury set out its case for independence today as it urged shareholders not to let US giant Kraft "steal your company".

The chocolate company's latest response to Kraft was contained in a new defence document setting out details of Cadbury's "outstanding" trading in 2009 and forecasting sales growth of up to 7 per cent this year.

Shareholders have until 2 February to accept Kraft's takeover offer, which values the the UK firm at around £10.5 billion.

Cadbury chairman Roger Carr said Kraft's proposal was "even more unattractive" than it was when it made its formal offer in December.

He added: "Our 2009 performance is ahead of our previously upgraded expectations and we have excellent momentum going into 2010."

Mr Carr added that Kraft's offer price was significantly below comparable transactions in the sector and said the shares element of the proposal exposed shareholders to the US firm's "low growth" business model.

"Don't let Kraft steal your company with its derisory offer," he told shareholders.

Cadbury's last defence document saw it raise long-term performance targets and issue higher profit margins guidance.

Chief executive Todd Stitzer said today that the company's value as a stand-alone company had been boosted by its performance over the second half of the year, with revenues up 6 per cent in the period and by 5 per cent over the whole of 2009.

He said: "Our performance in 2009 was outstanding. We generated good revenue growth despite the weakest economic conditions in 80 years."

The company added that it expected growth of 10% in its full-year dividend payment to shareholders.

Looking ahead, Mr Stitzer said the company was targeting revenue growth of between 5 per cent and 7 per cent in 2010, driven by new products and marketing investment.

Kraft has until next Tuesday to decide whether to raise its bid - currently at 763p a share - with an offer of more than 800p thought to have more of a chance of enticing Cadbury shareholders.

But the Dairylea and Toblerone firm would need the support of Warren Buffett, whose Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle owns almost 10 per cent of Kraft, to up its offer.

Mr Buffett has already warned Kraft not to overpay for Cadbury and last week said shareholders should not be asked to write a "blank cheque" by issuing 370 million new Kraft shares to finance the bid.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Payments Operations Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They win lots of awards for the...

Recruitment Genius: Telephone Debt Negotiator

£13500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This nationwide enforcement com...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific