Cadbury this morning (21 October) lifted its full-year revenue and margin targets in a third-quarter trading update seen as a bid to convince shareholders of the UK confectioner’s future as an independent company.

The Dairy Milk maker will discover whether suitor Kraft Foods will make a formal takeover offer for the business within the next three weeks.

The US food giant, which approached Cadbury with a proposed GBP10.2bn (US$16.81bn) offer last month, has until 9 November to table an official bid for Cadbury or walk away.

Today, Cadbury hailed an “excellent” third quarter for the company, pointing to a 7% rise in sales on a constant-currency basis.

The confectioner behind brands like Hall’s candy and Trident gum said its year-to-date revenues rose 5%. Cadbury’s gross margins for the first nine months of 2009 had improved by 20 basis points on a constant-currency basis.

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Cadbury said annual turnover is now expected to be “around the middle of our 4-6% goal range”.

The company also sees its underlying operating margins rising by “at least” 135bps on a constant-currency basis in 2009 – up from 11.9% in 2008.

Cadbury’s shares rose by 0.8% to 805p at 08:09 BST this morning.

Kraft unveils its own third-quarter numbers on 3 November.

Click here for the full third-quarter statement from Cadbury and click here for concerns over the company’s volumes.