UK-based confectionery and soft drinks giant Cadbury Schweppes has the improvement in performance seen in the fourth quarter of 2003 has continued into 2004.

“All of our key businesses have had an encouraging start to the year, particularly our carbonates business in the US and our confectionery operations in the Americas. The Adams business is performing well and the integration remains on track,” the company said.

Cadbury said its Americas Confectionery unit is performing well, benefiting from healthy consumer demand in key markets and new product launches in gum. Its confectionery operations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region have had a steady start to the year, with continuing top-line growth in most of the company’s main markets across the region.

In the UK, Cadbury said it has seen further market share gains, and Easter sales were slightly ahead year-on-year.

In the Asia Pacific region, the company’s confectionery and beverage operations in Australia have shown good growth after a difficult first half last year. In Thailand and Japan, the company said its gum and medicated businesses continue to perform well, and it has seen a satisfactory sales recovery in India.

Cadbury said its Fuel for Growth cost reduction programme is delivering savings in line with plan with further benefits expected in the second half. However the company added that it is, as expected, experiencing some above inflation cost increases.

“Although we have a number of key integration projects to implement in the second half, particularly in Americas Confectionery, we are cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the full year and continue to expect to deliver results within our goal ranges,” said CEO Todd Stitzer.