Kraft Foods today (6 December) dismissed reports of its plans to transfer part of Cadbury’s business to Switzerland as “nothing new” and said it had always intended to make the move.
Press reports in the UK over the weekend outlined Kraft’s plans to integrate Cadbury into the US group’s holding company structure in Europe.
The Oreos and Philadelphia maker has its European head office in Zurich and is looking to switch some of Cadbury’s functions to the Swiss city.
Former UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson reportedly said today (6 December): “Whatever assurances Kraft gives about Cadbury’s future in the UK, this move is the beginning of a slippery slope.”
However, Kraft stood by the move and insisted it had said when it acquired Cadbury earlier this year that the Dairy Milk maker would be integrating into the US group’s existing corporate structure.
“There is nothing new in the story. We have been clear from the start that Cadbury would be integrated into our existing Kraft Foods business but we have also been very clear we were committed to the UK,” Kraft told just-food today (6 December).
“Cadbury itself, and many other multinational companies, had a very similar structure in place for its Europe business before the acquisition.”
Kraft pointed to its decision to make Cadbury’s historic site at Bournville in the UK the whole group’s “global centre of excellence for chocolate” and the position of the company’s coffee facility in Banbury as the “global centre” of that part of the business.
“Whilst we have always said a small number of senior roles would relocate to Zurich, Kraft Foods is committed to the UK both in terms of manufacturing and office-based roles,” the company said.
It added: “We have around 5,500 employees in the UK and pay substantial payroll and other taxes. It is in the best interests of every government to ensure the tax system is supportive of profitable business.”