Cadbury gets upper hand in Kraft battle

CONFECTIONARY giant Cadbury yesterday released a stellar set of third quarter results as it desperately tries to fend off a hostile takeover approach from America&rsquo;s Kraft. <br /><br />Cadbury said its revenues grew by seven per cent in constant currency terms, beating expectations and putting pressure on Kraft to come up with a bigger offer to get its hands on the confectionary group.<br /><br />And the group unexpectedly raised its sales and margin-growth targets for the full year, sending its shares up to 799p &ndash;&ensp;well above Kraft&rsquo;s 726p takeover offer. <br /><br />It moved forecasts for full-year revenue growth from the bottom end of expectations to the middle of its four to six per cent target range. <br /><br />And chief executive of Todd Stitzer said the firm was returning to more &ldquo;normal&rdquo; growth rates now that the worst of the recession was over. <br /><br />He said he expected underlying sales growth of at least five per cent in 2010 and 2011. &ldquo;We have the momentum and the growth,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />The firm reported growing sales in all three of its categories &ndash; chocolate, gum and candy &ndash; over the course of the quarter.<br /><br />Chocolate sales rose seven per cent year on year, gum rose four per cent and candy rose 11 per cent, it said.<br /><br />But growth in chocolate, which accounts for nearly half of Cadbury&rsquo;s worldwide sales, was slower than the 10 per cent reported in the first half.<br />