Kraft comes under fresh fire over Cadbury factory closure

PRESSURE is mounting on Kraft after the Takeover Panel launched an investigation into allegations it misled investors.

The panel will begin an investigation into claims the firm promised to keep Cadbury’s Somerdale factory in Keynsham open but reneged on the deal. Kraft repeatedly said it believed Cadbury’s earlier decision to close the plant could be reversed.

The news comes just days before senior Kraft executives face a grilling from the business select committee.

Select committee chairman Peter Luff welcomed the probe. He told City A.M.: “The closure of this plant was the catalyst for the select committee inquiry. I think it is important that when companies make promises and go back on them they shall be held to account.”

He added: “I would expect the takeover panel to investigate, as I will do at the committee next week.”

The Cadbury takeover has already prompted business secretary Lord Mandelson to call for a wholesale review of mergers and acquisitions law. He criticised the impact short-term investors could have on big takeovers. The factory will now be relocated to Poland, along with 500 jobs. Lazard managing director Peter Kiernan’s new role as director general of the Takeover Panel has been delayed because while at the bank he advised Kraft.