Bid-target Cadbury Plc
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.
Cadbury said its view was backed up by the poor level of take-up for Kraft's bid, after the U.S. group received only 1.52 percent acceptances at the first closing date of its bid earlier this month.
We believe the paltry level of acceptances to date is a clear indication of a lack of support for the offer on the table from Kraft, and good shareholder support for Cadbury's independent standalone value, Stitzer added.
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 to 7 percent growth target for the future, and margins to rise to between 16 and 18 percent by 2013 from 13.5 in 2009.
He reiterated that the group had had limited engagement with Hershey
Only if two bids were of the same value would Cadbury favor one from a pure-play confectionery group and having a similar culture, Stitzer added.
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.
Cadbury said the current Kraft offer values the confectioner at 12 times its core EBITDA 2009 profits compared with other deals such as Cadbury's purchase of Adams in 2003 at 14.3 times and the Mars-Wrigley deal in 2008 done at 18.5 times.
(Editing by Kate Holton and David Holmes)