February 25, 2009 / 9:29 AM / 8 years ago

Cadbury sees 2010 price rises if cocoa stays high

LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - British confectionery maker Cadbury Plc CBRY.L said it had raised chocolate prices for 2009 to reflect the higher price of cocoa and may have to hike prices for 2010 further if cocoa stays at current high levels.

Cadbury Finance Director Ken Hanna said on Wednesday the average cost of cocoa for the group was 40 percent higher on average in 2008 compared with 2007, and although cocoa price had fallen around 15 percent in recent weeks there was still a chance Cadbury may have to raise prices again.

London cocoa futures hit a 24-year high in late January on concern over tight supplies, but have fallen recently due to improved production prospects and the deepening global economic crisis which is seen as hitting demand.

Hanna told a conference call after publication of the company's 2008 results that if cocoa prices stayed at current levels then there would have to be chocolate price increases pushed through for 2010. [ID:nLN622213]

Analysts are concerned the high price of cocoa may hit Cadbury's plans to increase its profit margins, but it reported group margins rose 1.8 percentage points to 11.9 percent in 2008 and reiterated it still aimed for mid-teen percentage margins by 2011. (Reporting by David Jones; Editing by David Holmes)

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