By Ian Neubauer
Australia is set to become the only country in the world where the Cadbury Schweppes juggernaut will continue to manufacture beverage products following the planned demerger of the company’s confectionery and beverage businesses in the US.
News of the demerger and the planned listing of Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverage unit on the New York Stock Exchange sparked a rash of media reports suggesting the Australian subsidiary might follow suit. However, a spokesperson for Cadbury Schweppes Australia said there were no plans to separate the business units in Australia or New Zealand.
“We have no plans to sell our Australian beverage business. We are not part of the demerger,” said Cadbury Schweppes corporate affairs manager, Robyn Newman. She added the Australian subsidiary would remain a wholly owned company for the indefinite future.
The US subsidiary said in a statement the demerger was formulated to maximise shareholder value and enable management teams to focus on “generating further revenue growth, increasing margin and enhancing returns for their respective shareowners.”
Cadbury Schweppes Australia is the leader in the local confectionary market, with a 55 per cent market share and annual turnover of $2.3 billion. Cadbury has been marketing confectionery in Australia since 1922 when it merged J S Fry and Pascall to build its Tasmanian plant. It became the official supplier of chocolate to the Australian Armed Forces in 1939 but did not enter the beverage market until 1969, when it merged with Schweppes.
The demerger is not expected to be finalised before the second quarter of 2008.