LONDON - Bid-target Cadbury Plc stressed on Tuesday it had good support from its shareholders in repelling the hostile bid from Kraft Foods and should be able to deliver on its financial targets for 2010.
Our shareholders are very clear, our independent standalone value is much preferred to the bid which is on the table. We do have good support, Cadbury's Chief Executive Todd Stitzer told Reuters in an interview after releasing its final bid defense.
He added that although it was very early to comment on 2010 he was confident of meeting sales and margin targets in the future after its successful track record.
We are comfortable where we are. We have consistently delivered 6 percent sales growth for six years in a row and margin progression for 10 quarters in a row, he added.
Cadbury reported underlying sales rose 5 percent in 2009 and has set a 5-7 percent growth target for the future, and margins to rise to 16-18 percent by 2013 from 13.5 in 2009.
He reiterated that the group had had limited engagement with Hershey and Italy's Ferrero, but stressed that the offer and not the bidder was key.
Cadbury has spent the last four months fighting off Kraft's 10.5 billion-pound ($16.9 billion) hostile cash and share bid which is currently worth 762 pence a share compared to Cadbury's closing share price of 777p with investors and analysts saying a winning bid needs to be 800p or above.
Earlier, the Dairy Milk chocolate maker reported robust 2009 results and gave an upbeat 2010 outlook as it continues to argue that Kraft's bid undervalued Cadbury against comparable deals in the industry and described it as derisory.
(Reporting by David Jones; editing by Kate Holton)