Cadbury’s owner Kraft to take Milka to market
The US food giant Kraft has confirmed it is to launch its flagship chocolate brand Milka in the UK just weeks after completing the take-over of Cadbury for £11.7bn.
The launch slated for the spring is somewhat controversial as it will pitch Milka up against the UK confectioner's Dairy Milk brand, which is the market leader with sales of £371m last year.
Kraft will kick off its TV advertisements for Milka on April 19. A Kraft spokesperson said: “Milka is a leading chocolate brand in Europe and a key focus within the Kraft Foods European brand portfolio.”
The maker of Oreo cookies piloted Milka in selected UK retail outlets last year, in a so-called ‘soft launch’. The new launch is likely to further raise eyebrows in Bournville, Birmingham, where Cadbury is based. There has been significant opposition among Cadbury's staff to the hostile take-over bid by Kraft, which eventually won the day at 850p a share, including a 10p special dividend.
Last week, unions accused Kraft of ‘deliberately misleading’ 400 workers at Cadbury's Somerdale factory, near Bristol, after the US company said it would close the facility in 2011, despite saying it would try to keep it open.
Kraft acquired Milka in 1990 when it was just sold in two countries. It is now a global brand sold in 22 countries with annual sales of about £1bn.
The US company said yesterday that given it had received acceptances accounting for more than 90% of Cadbury shares, it would exercise its right to force the remaining shareholders to sell.