Criticism of Kraft’s conduct since Cadbury takeover
Kraft’s conduct since the takeover of Cadbury has come under close scrutiny in a new report. Members of the UK’s Business, Innovation & Skills Committee has said they have “significant concerns” over the takeover. They labeled Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld’s attitude towards the panel “regrettably dismissive” and criticised her for “repeated refusal to appear before a committee of Parliament
However, the report ‘Is Kraft Working For Cadbury?’ also acknowledged positive signs. “Our overall conclusion is that while there remain some significant concerns about the takeover of Cadbury, a number of positive signs are beginning to emerge,” the report said. “Those positive messages would have been considerably more convincing if conveyed directly to bodies such as ourselves from the top of the organisation.”
The committee recommends that the UK urgently needs a new takeover regime, stressing that a repeat of Kraft’s takeover of Cadbury must be avoided by ensuring that promises made during bidding are binding.
The union Unite has reacted to the publication by saying it was so concerned by Kraft’s failure to disclose “basic information” since the takeover that it is seeking to use international agreements to ensure the firm informs the union about its UK plans, specifically those relating to the next five years. Jennie Formby, Unite national officer for the food and drink sector says the UK government could not sit on the sidelines, “One year on from Kraft’s predatory purchase of Cadbury the workers are still none the wiser about the company’s commitments to its UK businesses. In fact, we now have less information about the company’s current state and future intentions than before the takeover. Workers look at Kraft’s horrendous multi-billion debt, consider its record in other countries where jobs have gone, plants have shut and wages have been cut, and rightly worry about what the future holds for them.
She concludes, “Worryingly, however, it seems that the government has lost the appetite for the Cadbury Law promised by Vince Cable – but it must not shy away from giving our remaining industrial base desperately need protection.”