Tangerine Confectionery, the UK's largest independent confectionery manufacturer, is poised to swoop on Monkhill Confectionery business, a Cadbury-Schweppes subsidiary which makes Butterkist popcorn and own-label products for supermarkets.
Cadbury Schweppes has appointed investment bank Investec to find potential buyers for Monkhill, up for sale as part of a major restructuring programme.
Tangerine, which also makes own-label sweets for major UK retailers, said it would bid to buy the business, part of Cadbury Trebor Bassett, as part of ongoing plans to increase sales over the next five years. "We know we are widely seen as the obvious buyer," Tangerine chairman Steven Joseph told The Grocer. "And there is no doubt there would be considerable benefits in terms of complementary products, increased sales and efficiency improvements. The combined company would be a major player in UK confectionery." In August Tangerine bought the confectionery arm of Burton's Foods, increasing its annual sales overnight from £45m to £60m.
This week, Cadbury chief executive Todd Stitzer said a major overhaul of the company would mean shutting 11 of its 70 factories worldwide, with a loss of 15% of its global workforce.Stitzer also said the company planned to sell rather than demerge its US drinks arm for an expected £7.5bn.
n Cadbury Schweppes faces unlimited fines after admitting hygiene offences that may have led to a salmonella outbreak. More than a million chocolate bars were recalled last June after an outbreak of salmonella was linked to a leaking pipe at its factory in Herefordshire. Cadbury's lawyers pleaded guilty to all charges at Birmingham Magistrates' Court on 15 June.
Herefordshire Council has also decided to prosecute the company over six alleged food hygiene-related offences.