By Ian Neubauer
Cadbury Schweppes Australia has denied ongoing media reports it is preparing to offload its $1 billion beverage business in the lead-up to a deadline for its latest share buyback.
“We are not planning to sell. That is purely speculative,” said Cadbury Schweppes Australia corporate affairs manager, Robyn Newman.
“The notice of intention to conduct a selective share buy back relates to Cadbury Schweppes Australia simplifying the company’s holding structure. This is an ongoing process to remove complexity from the local business structure,” she said.
The April 30 deadline for the share buyback closely coincides with the demerger of the Cadbury Schweppes beverage and confectionary operations in the Americas, scheduled for completion on May 7.
The confectionary giant sold off its European beverage business in 2006, making Australia the only country where Cadbury Schweppes markets both confectionary and beverages.
The US subsidiary said in a statement earlier this year the demerger was formulated to enable management to generate further revenue growth by focusing on its core confectionary business.
However, Newman said the rationale behind the Americas demerger did not apply here.
“The American business is structured quite differently. Our business here does operate quite differently as we are quite integrated,” she said.
“This buyback does not relate to the demerger of the Cadbury Schweppes beverages business in the US, neither does it signal any intention to sell the company’s Australian beverages business.”
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