UK confectionery and soft drinks group Cadbury Schweppes has said it is confident of a successful outcome for 2003 despite the difficult trading environment.

The group, which makes Dairy Milk chocolate and Dr Pepper, backed its earlier expectations for flat 2003 earnings for its North American beverage business, and said the performance of its recently-acquired Adams business was in line with expectations.

“I am pleased to be able to say that 2003 has started reasonably in a trading environment which has certainly become no easier in recent months,” chief executive officer John Sunderland was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The group said its UK confectionery business, Cadbury Trebor Bassett, made a strong start to the year and enjoyed a particularly good Easter. Most of the group’s other confectionery businesses were performing in line with expectations, although those in Australia and Canada had had a slower start to the year.

Referring to Adams, which Cadbury acquired at the end of March, Sunderland said: “Although early days, the business (Adams) is performing in line with our expectations and the integration is running to plan.”

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