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Saturday 13th of February 2010
February 11, 2010    

Kraft confirms closure of Cadbury Somerdale plant

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by Kay Murchie

US food giant, Kraft, has confirmed it will close Cadbury’s Somerdale plant near Bristol with the loss of 400 jobs.

Cadbury has a UK workforce of 4,500, including 2,500 at its historic Bournville factory in Birmingham and 400 at its headquarters in Uxbridge.

The move comes after the 186-year-old iconic British confectioner, renowned for Dairy Milk, agreed to a £11.5 billion ($18.9 billion) takeover deal from the US food giant.

However, many were opposed to the deal and Cadbury workers staged a protest calling for Government support to guarantee jobs.

Last week, Business Secretary Lord Peter Mandelson met with Kraft chief executive, Irene Rosenfeld, but at the time of the meeting, she did not give specific commitments on jobs but said she should have made the position clear.

Kraft, which is renowned for brands such as Kenco coffee and Oreo biscuits, is one of the world’s biggest food and beverage companies with annual revenues exceeding $37 billion.

Meanwhile, employees called the decision to close the factory “utterly despicable” and said they had been deceived by Kraft.

Unite’s national officer, Jennie Formby, said Kraft’s “dishonesty” was a concern for the future relationship between the company and Cadbury employees.

At the time of the first bid back in September, Kraft said a takeover of Cadbury would secure UK jobs, while keeping open its Somerdale factory and investing in its Bournville plant.

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