Cadbury Schweppes is said to be gearing up for a $4bn bid for US sweets group Adams, which makes Trident and Dentyne chewing gum and Bubblicious bubble gum.

Following the cancelled auction two months ago for chocolate maker Hershey Stateside, Cadbury could be up against the likes of Nestlé, Kraft and Wrigley for Adams.

Cadbury, which makes Dairy Milk chocolate and Trebor mints, bought French chewing gum business Hollywood for £170m from Kraft in 2001 and Denmark's Dandy for £350 earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Cadbury said its third quarter volumes for its US beverage operations were in line and up 8%, but flat excluding acquisitions, due to brand transfers between bottling systems.

Chief operating officer, John Brock, said growth of Dr Pepper was up 1% and Snapple 2% and that the fourth quarter had started in line with expectations.