Kraft: The rise of the food giant

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The Independent Online

Kraft's £10 billion attempt to land UK confectionery firm Cadbury is the latest in a long line of major takeover stories involving the Illinois-based firm, maker of some of the world's best-known snack brands.

* The company traces its history back to 1903 when James L Kraft began a wholesale cheese business in Chicago, Illinois. By 1914 the company had opened its first plant manufacturing its own cheese.

* In 1988, Philip Morris purchased Kraft for 12.9 billion US dollars before merging the business with its general foods unit, maker of Maxwell House coffee. Kraft General Foods subsequently acquired Jacobs Suchard, adding a portfolio of chocolate brands including Toblerone and Milka.

* Philip Morris acquired Nabisco for 19.2 billion US dollars in 2000 before integrating it into Kraft Foods. Another major deal saw the addition of the global biscuit business of Danone in 2007.

* In 2001, shares in Kraft were listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

* Last year, nine of its brands generated revenues exceeding one billion US dollars, including Jacobs, Maxwell House, Milka and Nabisco. More than 40 of its brands are at least 100 years old.

* Major brands in the UK include Kenco coffee, Philadelphia and Dairylea, and Terry's Chocolate Orange.

* The company has 98,000 employees and 168 manufacturing and processing facilities worldwide.

* The company generated revenues last year of 41.9 billion US dollars (£25.6 billion), with 38 per cent of sales coming from snacks, 20 per cent from drinks and 18 per cent from cheese. Kraft posted net earnings of 2.9 billion US dollars (£1.77 billion).