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Taste of sweet success

CONFECTIONARY group Cadbury PLC yesterday reported improved trading in April and May - thanks to Easter chocolate sales and new product launches - and forecast further strength in the second half of the year.

The maker of Trident and Dentyne gum, Halls and Bassett's candies and Cadbury chocolates said a stronger second half would balance out the slower start to the year. That would put its full-year guidance for sales growth near the lower end of its current 4 to 6 percent range.

"Our early progress has continued into the second quarter with our businesses focused on delivering market share gains and efficiency improvements," said Chief Executive Todd Stitzer.

The company also said it was making good progress toward its goal of mid-teens margins by 2011 - it reported 11.9 percent last year.

Cadbury said growth in chocolate sales remained robust, reflecting Easter trading and product innovations, like the relaunch of its Wispa bar in Britain. That helped offset difficult trading in Ireland, France and Spain.

Gum and candy sales both grew, helped by improved performances in a number of developed markets.

"Our major emerging market businesses in South America, the Middle East and Africa and Asia also performed well," the firm said in the update to the London Stock Exchange. "In addition, our North America revenue continued to recover from the impact of destocking early in the first quarter."



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