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Last Updated: Friday, 13 May, 2005, 10:22 GMT 11:22 UK
Cadbury gobbles up organic rival
Fairtrade office
Green and Black's sources cocoa beans under Fairtrade agreements
Confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes has bought organic chocolate maker Green & Black's at a time when demand for healthier products is booming.

The maker of Dairy Milk, Dr Pepper and 7-Up did not disclose the sum it paid for Green & Black's, but pundits estimate a price tag of about 20m.

Green & Black's is the fastest-growing confectionary brand, with 5.1% of the UK market for block chocolate.

It claims to have made the world's first organic chocolate.

Green & Black's also makes organic ice creams, biscuits and cooking products which are sold on the High Street through retailers such as Boots and Tesco.

The company sources the cocoa beans for one of its chocolates under Fairtrade agreements from countries such as Madagascar and the Dominican Republic.

Organic appetite

Cadbury's has pledged to run Green & Black's as a standalone company but said the acquisition would help it expand around the world.

Our businesses share a passion for quality products and ethical values
Todd Stitzer, Cadbury's CEO

Green & Black's was set up in 1991 by Craig Sams and his wife Josephine Fairley. A group of investors led by the former chief of the New Covent Garden Soup Company, William Kendall, bought an 80% stake in the firm in 1999.

A major refinancing followed and since then sales have blossomed, with an annual growth rate of 69%, reaching 22.4m in the last year.

"Our businesses share a passion for quality products and ethical values so this is a very natural fit," said Cadbury's chief executive Todd Stitzer.

Craig Sams will continue in his role as president of Green & Black's and William Kendall will stay as chief executive.

"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 Mr Kendall.

The Cadbury's confectionary empire includes brands such a Dairy Milk, Roses, Flake, Double Decker, Turkish Delight and Boost. Its US division makes Dr Pepper and 7-Up.

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