Production will be partly moved to Poland

Production will be partly moved to Poland

Kraft Foods today (9 February) confirmed that it will push ahead with Cadbury's plans to close the Somerdale manufacturing facility in Keynsham, near Bristol.

Cadbury had planned to close the Somerdale site and move production to Poland in a bid to cut costs.

However, prior to Kraft's takeover of the UK confectioner, the Toblerone maker indicated that it hoped to keep Somerdale open.

Nevertheless, a week after securing shareholder approval for its GBP11.7bn (US$18.3bn) acquisition, Kraft said that “extensive talks” with “senior management” led it to decide that the site must close, with the loss of around 400 jobs.

The Somerdale plant will close by 2011, in line with the plans already put in place by Cadbury, Kraft said in a statement this evening.

Cadbury has already invested more than GBP100m in building new production facilities in Poland and the process of transferring lines is underway, making the decision irreversible, Kraft said.

"In our recent talks with Cadbury senior management, it became clear that it is unrealistic to reverse the closure programme, despite our original intent to do so. While this is a difficult decision, we have moved quickly to end any further uncertainty,” Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft chairman and CEO, said.

However, she added that Kraft was committed to growing and investing in the combined UK business and would support Cadbury's GBP30m investment plans for Bournville.