The biggest news in Birmingham today is that Cadbury are now recommending to their share holders that they accept Kraft’s offer to take over the company.
Only a short time ago they were fighting off Kraft, but the offer of a little more money, and all doubts about whether a Kraft take over would actually be in the best long-term interests of Cadbury have apparently evaporated.
Last week we had a debate at Birmingham’s Full Council meeting about manufacturing in the city and I spoke about Cadbury. I pointed out what happened when Kraft took over another famous British chocolate manufacturer – Terry’s of York, makers of the famous chocolate orange.
American food giants Kraft took over Terry’s in 1994. On September 30th 2005, the Terry’s factory in York closed its doors for the last time – with the loss of 350 jobs. You can still buy a chocolate orange – but it’s not made in Britain any more. Its production was moved to Kraft food facilities in Sweden, Belgium, Poland and Slovakia.
Kraft has facilities all over the world. One would hope they’d keep a newly acquired British factory open. But what if it’s cheaper to manufacture the Cadbury prodcts elsewhere? It would be a very sad day indeed for Birmingham workers, Birmingham residents and for Birmingham’s heritage if the famous Bournville factory closed its doors for good in a few years time.
We’ve already lost Rover during the liftetime of this Labour Government. I sincerely hope today isn’t the beginning of the end for Cadbury too.