Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dies Irae I - Cadbury's

Another British company bites the dust. Now all our chocolate will have processed cheese in it.

It's Longbridge (followed by Longbridge II, no doubt) all over again. The A38 south from Brum looks set to become an industrial wasteland to compare with the north of the city, where the remains of the Ansells brewery and the HP factory are long gone, and only the redeveloped Fort Dunlop remains as a reminder of past glory. The east has been mostly deindustrialised (and the natives displaced) as far out as Solihull and the Land Rover plant - only in the west do you still find people making things.

A very long time ago my primary school class sat in the dining room to watch "The Story Of Bournville" - chocolate from Africa to Brum. Now (I might have been 6 or 7) I knew the full story of the Cadbury trucks and tankers we passed on the Bromsgrove to Birmingham line, in their sidings opposite 'The Factory In A Garden'.

The open spaces and gardens around the factory are used by staff during lunch breaks. There are sports grounds. Men play football. There is a swimming bath for the women and an open-air pool for the men. Scenes in Bourneville village, the Day Continuation School, Selley Manor and Minwirth Greaves, the Friends Meeting House, the Church, the Almshouses and the school. Young employees are seen at summer camp under canvas, washing-up, playing cricket, on an excursion in a boat, sea-bathing and playing music in the evening. The nightwatchman says "It's pretty wonderful, isn't it?"
Flickr photoset here. Wonderful description of a 1920 factory visit here :

Kraft said all the nice things about investment and the brand when it took over Terry's of York. Now the York factory is empty and the chocolate oranges are made in Poland.

Already the first talk of redundancies is coming from the company. I guess it was nice while it lasted.


Anonymous said...

But how did it happen, they are calling it a 'hostile' takeover, surely someone must have agreed to sell a large portion of shares? who was it, who had the controlling interest?

Isn't this whole process being financed by the taxpayer owned RBS?

Apparently, Kraft are going into £($?)7 billion debt to pay for the deal, whats going to happen if the UK and US aren't on the road to economic recovery as they pretend?
It seems like Kraft could end up not being able to afford the deal.
Where would that leave Cadbury? I guess they would keep the name and close the UK operation.
Who would be supprised if that happened.

Laban said...

The Cadbury board agreed to the terms.

Josh Rimer said...

I love how everyone is so convinced this is the end of good tasting chocolate. lol

I talk about the reaction to Cadbury being taken over by Kraft in my video show today -- you can see it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdGCJMwIdM4

No one in the UK seems to trust that an American company!

Recusant said...

It amazes me that people can talk about a company being 'sold out' when it is taken over, cf. Man Utd. They were sold out when they first floated on the stock market and more than 50% of Cadbury Schweppes was owned by foreigners before; the majority of them American.

Laban said...

The problem with overseas ownership is that there's no longer a link to, and a concern for, the local community. I take your point that this is inherent in being publicly quoted, when anyone can buy the shares.

So when hard times come it's then easier to cut. "Terry's of York" became "Terry's" and then they closed York.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

It might help if we made our country a little more attractive to investors in manufacturing.

Go and look at the area around Ringaskiddy outside Cork in Ireland. Every single significant Pharma company in the world has a manufacturing plant there, and most of them are being extended.

I wonder why?

(Hint: they're not there because they like the weather)

Mark said...

Weekend Yachtsman makes a valid point about the IDA in the Republic, and its success over the last 40 years in developing an industrial base in a state that (except for brewing & distilling)barely had one.

The Irish aren't the only one of our 'European partners' from whom we could learn a few things when it comes to developing (or in our case, preserving) a viable industrial base. The French have what is colloqially known as 'Danone's law', which takes strategic industries off the table when it comes to foreign takeovers.
If Kraft tried to take over Danone's core dairy business, in other words, they'd get the finger from Sarkozy (and the EU would also be told to mind its own business).

On this side of the channel, of course, all the 3 main parties now seem to care about is 'maximizing shareholder value'. This is actually globalist newspeak which means- defending the right of finance capital to acquire, sweat, and then if required dispose of, any asset, anywhere in the world, at any time; and bugger the consequences for anyone else.

Quite how the UK, in such a world, will be able to find remunerative, gainful employment for most it's adult population, is never explained, either by the masters of the universe cutting these deals, or their political facilitators.

bodo said...

"The problem with overseas ownership is that there's no longer a link to, and a concern for, the local community"

Indeed, and add to that, the company profits will now be whisked away to corporate HQ, in this case the US. Perhaps worse is the inevitable dumbing-down of the UK skills base; senior managment will now be in the US, as will R&D - those jobs will simply no longer be available to the UK workforce.

Anonymous said...

"The east has been mostly deindustrialised (and the natives displaced) as far out as Solihull and the Land Rover plant"

Trouble is that metal bashing was so un-vibrant, so common

But fear not there is endless opportunity opening up now the degraded white proles are being rapidly replaced, and their orcish manufacturing confined to the historical dustbin - where it belongs

Heroin smuggling and distribution
Dog fighting
Halal slaughter
Transporting large numbers of kids with recessive genetic illnesses in white vans
Painting disabled signs on the road for the IB claimants
Beaming in enlightenment from Saudi Arabia
Planting more Masjids

Vibrance is as vibrance does folks

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