Confectionery giant Cadbury has remained silent over reports it has entered discussions with Italian confectioner Ferrero over an "industrial partnership".

Italian daily Il Sole 24 Ore today (17 November) reported that family-owned Ferrero might be considering an offer with friendly investors for an alliance with UK confectioner Cadbury, the subject of a hostile bid from Kraft Foods.

It is understood that the Ferrero has been approached by Italian bank Mediobanca SpA about the prospect of a partnership, the publication said.

A spokesperson for Dairy Milk maker, however, refused to comment on the reports and maintained that the company is an "exceptional standalone business".

"It has strong iconic brands, a sharp category focus and an enviable geographic scope. Our successful financial delivery and strong business model reinforce the board's belief in both the strategy and prospects of Cadbury as an independent company," the spokesperson said.

Last week, US food group Kraft took its US$16.2bn offer for Cadbury to the UK company's shareholders, refusing to sweeten its price. Cadbury called on its shareholders to turn down the hostile takeover bid with the UK group's chairman criticising the US food giant's offer.

Ferrero also declined to comment when contacted by just-food.