November 25, 2009 / 10:18 AM / 10 years ago

British union to meet Kraft over bid for Cadbury

* First meeting between Kraft and unions over Cadbury

* Will discuss future of Cadbury’s Somerdale plant

LONDON, Nov 25 (Reuters) - British union officials are set to meet American giant Kraft Foods KFT.N later on Wednesday to seek assurances over jobs, pensions and working conditions should its plans to take over Cadbury Plc CBRY.L succeed.

The Unite trade union, Britain’s biggest, with 2 million members, will meet executives from Kraft’s European management team in London after the union had written to Kraft CEO Irene Rosenfeld requesting talks.

“This will be the first time we have had a proper dialogue with Kraft,” said Unite spokeswoman Pauline Doyle.

When Kraft went public with its interest in Cadbury in early September, it said it hoped to reverse Cadbury’s plans to close its Somerdale sweet factory near Bristol in southwest England and also invest in Cadbury’s main British plant at Bourneville.

Kraft launched its official cash and shares bid earlier this month. The bid currently values Cadbury shares at 722 pence, or the company at 9.9 billion pounds ($16.38 billion), while Cadbury shares were at 807-1/2p at 1000 GMT on hopes of rival bids that might push Kraft to raise its offer to succeed.

Italy’s Ferrero and U.S. based Hershey Co (HSY.N) have said separately they are considering making bids for Cadbury, while Switzerland’s Nestle NESN.VX has been mentioned by analysts as a possible partner for Hershey should the U.S. group decide to bid. (Reporting by David Jones, editing by Will Waterman) ($1=.6045 Pound) ((david.jones@thomsonreuters.com; +44 20 7542 7972; Reuters Messaging: david.jones.com@reuters.net))

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