Outlook: Cadbury snack

THE LAST six months have not been kind to John Sunderland, the well- groomed chief executive of Cadbury-Schweppes. Ever since he announced the proposed pounds 1.1bn sale of Cadbury's non-US soft drinks interests to Coca-Cola, the shares have been falling as regulators around the world queued up to block it.

The result has been a much-watered down version of the original, with the European sale abandoned completely and the sale in countries like Australia, South Africa and Mexico mired in regulatory negotiations. But with $700m due to be banked imminently from the first stage of the process, attention is turning back to where Cadbury goes next.

A look at the group's half year figures announced yesterday shows the company certainly needs a deal. In North America its Dr Pepper drinks brand is outperforming the market. But the Seven Up lemon and lime brand is going backwards as usual. The problem again is Coca Cola, which ambushed Seven-Up in the key southern California market in July. The Atlanta giant bought up huge amounts of retail shelf space for its Sprite brand, blasting Seven Up out of the market for nearly a month.

In chocolate the results were sticky too, particularly in Europe. Germany has slumped into loss, hit by the Russian crisis, the French market has declined and the UK stronghold was hit by de-stocking by wholesalers.

What should Mr Sunderland do? One option would be to pull out of beverages completely, but the only likely buyers are Coke and Pepsi, and the regulators would never wear it. Fortunately, these businesses do have their redeeming features - they throw off huge amounts of cash. More likely, then, is a confectionery deal. Mr Sunderland admits he is looking.

Chocolate is a surprisingly fragmented market when viewed from a global perspective, with even Nestle, the market leader, accounting for only 11 per cent, followed by Mars with 9 per cent. Cadbury has 6.5 per cent. A deal to buy Lindt of Switzerland, Ferrero of Italy or Suchard, part of Philip Morris, would put Cadbury in the premier league. Unfortunately, it is not clear these businesses are up for sale, or that Cadbury could afford the price.

Mr Sunderland has proved a patient, reliable pair of hands so far. But if he can't find a use for his cash soon, he may find that one of the bigger boys in the sector will gobble Cadbury up as its mid-morning snack.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Harry Redknapp. Mark Hughes and Ryan Shawcross
footballNews and updates as Queens Park Rangers host the Potters
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
New Articles
i100... with this review
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
New Articles
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
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

Senior BA - Motor and Home Insurance

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Market Risk & Control Manager

Up to £100k or £450p/d: Saxton Leigh: My client is a leading commodities tradi...

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £320 - £330 p/d - 6 months

£320 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Head of Audit

To £75,000 + Pension + Benefits + Bonus: Saxton Leigh: My client is looking f...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam