Cadbury CEO Todd Stitzer again claimed the UK confectioner would thrive as an independent company yesterday (13 October), hailing the company’s “incredible momentum”.

Stitzer used a grocery conference in London to reaffirm his belief that the Dairy Milk and Trident maker had a bright future on its own two feet, as he awaits a possible formal takeover offer from suitor Kraft Foods, the US food giant.

Kraft, the maker of Milka and Toblerone chocolate, has until 9 November to table an offer for Cadbury.

UK M&A regulator The Takeover Panel handed down the deadline last month following mounting speculation in the wake of Kraft’s proposed GBP10.2bn (US$16.3bn) offer on 7 September.

Cadbury rejected that offer and has sought to publicly defend the future independence of the company and its business strategy in recent weeks.

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Stitzer pointed to a series of initiatives, including increased marketing expenditure and investment in science and technology, for growing sales.

“In the first half of 2009, we’ve grown over 10% in the UK,” Stitzer told the IGD conference. “There is an incredible momentum in this business. The future is looking brighter than ever for Cadbury.”

The Cadbury boss also outlined an example of what he called the company’s “principled capitalism” – its switch to Fairtrade certification on Dairy Milk. The comment carried an echo of last month’s attack on “unbridled capitalism”, which some commentators took as a criticism of Kraft.

Stitzer’s appearance at the IGD conference came a week ahead of Cadbury’s third-quarter trading update, which is due on 21 October.

Kraft said yesterday that its own third-quarter numbers would be published on 3 November.