Kraft: No current plans to sell Green & Black’s

Posted by Josette Dunn on 19th January 2011

Kraft Foods has insisted it has “no current plans” to sell Green & Black’s amid rumours that bosses at the former Cadbury-owned organic chocolate maker are mulling a management buy-out.

Green & Black’s chocolate

A report in The Financial Times had claimed that Green & Black’s management was struggling to retain an entrepreneurial spirit at the business, which Kraft acquired as part of its takeover of Cadbury a year ago.

However, Michael Clarke, president of Kraft’s European operations, said selling Green & Black’s was not on the company’s agenda and said the business was “in good hands”.

“Kraft Foods is the world’s largest chocolate company with many of the world’s favourite brands including Cadbury, Milka, Toblerone, Cote d’Or and Green & Black’s. We are also the world’s largest buyer of Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance cocoa and we understand the importance of sustainability to our consumers. Here in Europe, we will continue to invest behind growing and optimising the entire chocolate portfolio,” Clarke said on Monday (17 January).

“Kraft Foods has the experience, capability and innovative outlook to drive growth. You only have to look at our record of growing brands in the UK, from the fantastic success of Philadelphia cream cheese and Kenco coffee to niche brands such as Carte Noire coffee and our successful 2010 launch of Belvita breakfast biscuits. Green & Black’s is in good hands.”

However, speaking to The Independent newspaper yesterday, the founder of Green & Black’s, Craig Sams, responded to the speculation by saying he would be interested in taking back ownership of the business.

Sams, who founded Green & Black’s in 1991 before selling the company to Cadbury in 2005, also insisted there was interest in buying the business from within the organic chocolate maker’s management.

“I would love to take [Green & Black’s] back and I know a number inside would also,” Sams said. However, he added: “I don’t think Kraft want to sell. I’m not telepathic but the indications are that they want to hang on to Green & Black’s.”

Asked by just-food yesterday whether Kraft would listen to offers for Green & Black’s from the business’s management or from other parties, a spokesperson said the US food giant would not comment further.

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