UK confectionery and soft drinks group Cadbury Schweppes has bought organic chocolate brand Green & Black’s.

The takeover of Green & Black’s, the UK’s fastest growing confectionery brand will enable its continued growth and further its international expansion, Cadbury said.

Cadbury Schweppes, which acquired a minority 5% stake in the company in 2002, has confirmed that Green & Black’s will be run as a standalone business. Green & Black’s founder, Craig Sams, will continue his role as president and the management team, led by chief executive William Kendall and finance director Nick Beart, who acquired the majority of the business from Sams in 1999, will remain unchanged.

“I am delighted that my vision for premium, high cocoa organic chocolate is entering the next stage of its successful evolution,” said Craig Sams, who is also chairman of the organic lobbying and certification group the Soil Association.

“Our businesses share a commitment to ethical values and I am confident that, with the involvement of Cadbury Schweppes, we will now be able to bring these positive messages to a much wider international audience,” he said.

“The premium quality chocolate market is growing fast globally and Green & Black’s taste combined with its organic and ethical integrity puts it in pole position to benefit from this,” said William Kendall, CEO of Green & Black’s. “With the support of Cadbury Schweppes we will continue the exceptional growth of the brand and establish Green & Black’s internationally.”

“We are incredibly impressed with the success the Green & Black’s team has achieved and welcome them into the Cadbury Schweppes family,” said Todd Stitzer, CEO of Cadbury Schweppes. “Our businesses share a passion for quality products and ethical values so this is a very natural fit.”