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What future for Cadbury Nigeria Plc?

By Franklin ALLI
With the recent bought over of Cadbury UK by US food giant Kraft Foods Inc. for $14 billion, what future awaits Cadbury Nigeria PLC? , Reports Franklin Alli

Management, staff and shareholders of Cadbury Nigeria PLC ought to be keenly concerned about Kraft’s Foods’ plan for the company.

It’s a known fact that when a new investor takes over a company new rules and changes are usually introduced.
Against this backdrop, how would the new ownership of Cadbury at the global level affect the local company in Nigeria.
Industry watchers wonder if  Kraft will axe management roles, and would there be new investment in the company or factory closure?
Reports in international media showed that already, Cadbury factories in UK and in other regions of the world  have started feeling some sorts of pressure from the new owner.

For instance,  just this week, Kraft Foods have closed down Cadbury’s Somerdale factory.
In January, Cadbury Plc, Britain’s largest candy maker, agreed to be acquired by U.S.-based Kraft Foods in a deal valued at around $14 billion.

During negotiations, Kraft had told investors and employees that it would keep the Somerdale factory open, but only weeks after the takeover was announced in the press, Kraft notified around 150 employees—mostly in the finance and communications departments within Cadbury’s Uxbridge headquarters—that their positions have been terminated.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, the U.K. Panel on Takeovers and Mergers is investigating Kraft’s planned closure of the Somerdale plant, as well as comments made by Kraft executives to see if they had misled investors and Cadbury employees.

Kraft, in its initial letter of intent for the takeover, expressed a desire to keep the factory open. Cadbury had planned to close the factory and move the jobs to Eastern Europe.

But the U.S.-based company is seeking to cut certain jobs already, “Kraft is moving with indecent haste to cut jobs,” UNITE officer Jennie Formby said in a statement. “Despite stating that the company would take 45 days to gain a clearer idea of management and staff structures for the combined business, Kraft has swung the ax before that deadline has been passed.”

UNITE is the U.K.’s biggest union. Cadbury employs approximately 6,000 workers globally.
Kraft Foods sealed its takeover of Cadbury last month after shareholders in the UK chocolate maker voted in favour of the deal. Cadbury said it had received valid acceptances of the offer from investors representing 71.7% of the firm. Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld said: “I warmly welcome Cadbury employees into the Kraft Foods family.”

Earlier, Cadbury workers had staged protests in London calling for government support to guarantee jobs.


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