Kraft labels Cadbury goals too ambitious

KRAFT Foods yesterday hit back at Cadbury for rejecting its £10bn hostile bid, warning shareholders not to put their faith in the British company’s ambitious growth targets.

The US food giant said the targets set out by Cadbury on Monday to rally shareholders against the bid were “subject to significant risk and uncertainty” and that a merger of the two firms would deliver more value “than Cadbury could achieve on its own”.

On Monday, Cadbury launched a stinging attack on Kraft, calling its 727p cash-and-shares offer “derisory” and accusing the US food giant of trying to “steal the company on the cheap”. The board promised shareholders it would deliver on a set of new long-term targets, saying a tie-up with Kraft would damage its future growth potential.

Kraft poured scorn on Cadbury’s defence document. A statement from chief executive Irene Rosenfeld said Cadbury was concentrating on targets to 2013, but had not given performance details for next year.

It also questioned whether Cadbury could achieve its targets to grow profitability up to 2013 without more costly restructuring. “Cadbury has previously exceeded its restructuring cost targets”, it said.
“We have heard nothing from Cadbury that surprises us,” Rosenfeld said. “Cadbury’s defence document only reinforces our belief that there is a compelling strategic and financial rationale to combining these two companies.”