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Cadbury taken over by Kraft Foods

Business Section

By FAITH SHONGWE - SWAZI TIMES-31-Aug-2010

MBABANE – The Cadbury group has been taken over by an international snacks, confectionery and quick meals company called Kraft Foods Inc.

This means that the local subsidiary will also be affected by the changes.

According to the Kraft Foods’ website, the takeover of the Cadbury group in February this year will create a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals.

However, there are no details on the financial aspect of the deal on the website.

An employee at Cadbury Swaziland, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed the takeover saying; "It is true that another company has taken over Cadbury. We were informed by management early this year about the takeover and we have been looking forward to the new changes since then. We are still operating as Cadbury, as the name has not yet changed to that of the company taking over. We are hopeful that when everything has been finalised, we will get all our dues."

Response

When Cadbury Swaziland management was reached for comment last Tuesday, Managing Director Sandile Simelane referred all questions to the Johannesburg office. An email was sent to the communications office at the Johannesburg office however, no response has been received yet.

The Business Desk has several memos from former Cadbury Global CEO Todd Stitzer confirming the takeover.

One of the memos issued in February reads; "Kraft Foods’ offer to buy Cadbury has just been declared wholly unconditional, which means that tomorrow marks that start of a new future for Cadbury as part of Kraft Foods. The combination creates the biggest and best confectionery company in the world, knocking Mars-Wrigley off the top spot! It is a bittersweet moment. as you know, in recent months, we have fought a feisty takeover contest. In the end, we did not prevail. Now, as we look forward, we need to turn our famous purple spirit to with fighting Kraft Foods against the competition."

He continued to say Cadbury had accomplished great things, including attaining revenue growth of over six per cent for six years, margin growth for five year, as well as significant double-digit shareholder returns over the same six year period.

He said Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods Irene Rosenfeld would outline the vision for the newly formed organisation. He continued to say in the memo that things will not be easy in the beginning and that "life will be a little difficult at first," but he assured that the good thing was that both Cadbury and Kraft Foods had similar values.

Announce

According to information sourced from the Kraft Foods website, Kraft Foods Chairman and CEO Irene Rosenfeld believes the two companies joined together had an impressive global reach with tremendous growth potential.

"Kraft Foods is pleased to announce that it has acquired control of Cadbury plc. The combination creates a global powerhouse in snacks, confectionery and quick meals, with annual revenues of approximately E350 billion (US$50 billion) and sales in approximately 160 countries. Holders of 71.73 per cent of Cadbury’s outstanding shares have already accepted Kraft Foods’ final offer, as recommended by the Cadbury Board. As such, all of the conditions of the recommended final offer for Cadbury have been satisfied or waived, allowing Cadbury to become part of Kraft Foods Inc," it reads in part.

Kraft Foods Inc. is a United States company, with its head quarters in Switzerland. Union notified, but Competition Commission still in the dark

MBABANE – The industry union was notified of the possible takeover of Cadbury by Kraft Foods Inc. When the Swaziland Manufacturing and Allied Workers’ Union (SMAWU) was reached for comment, Secretary General Sipho Manana confirmed that their office had been notified about the takeover.

"Cadbury Swaziland is a member of the union and as such, they did inform the office that a certain company would be taking over from Cadbury. All we know is that the process of taking over is at an advanced stage. We have been informed that the Cadbury Board of Directors have agreed to the takeover. We will get full details of the takeover soon," said Manana.

Meanwhile, acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Swaziland Competition Commission Thabisile Langa was oblivious of the takeover.

"The office has not yet heard anything on the issue," she said. In addition, Langa said as per requirement of Section 35 of the Competition Act, all mergers are supposed to go through the office.


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