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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 07:01 GMT 08:01 UK
Cadbury says sales are on target
Cadbury's brands include Dairy Milk chocolate and Dr Pepper drinks
Cadbury Schweppes, the world's biggest confectioner, says it is on target to meet its sales targets for 2004.

Issuing a trading statement ahead of its annual general meeting, the soft drinks to chocolate giant said its US business was doing particularly well.

This was being led by strong sales of its Dr Pepper brand soda and its range of diet drinks.

Cadbury Schweppes said UK sales over Easter were ahead of last year and it was continuing to grow market share.

Only the "competitive" French market was disappointing, it said.

"We have had an encouraging start to the year with good results from all our key business units," said Todd Stitzer, Cadbury Schweppes' chief executive.

Acquisition trail

"Particularly pleasing is the continued improvement in our US beverage business and strong sales growth in Americas Confectionery where the business is benefiting from investment in marketing and innovation.

We are cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the full year and continue to expect to deliver results within our goal ranges
Cadbury Schweppes

"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."

UK-based Cadbury saw pre-tax profits before goodwill and exceptional items fall 1% to 922m ($1.76bn) in 2003.

Back in October it unveiled plans to cut 5,500 jobs and save 400m a year between 2004 to 2007, following a 4.9bn acquisition spree over the past three years that saw it buy companies including US sweets firm Adams.

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