Cadbury calls $250m media pitch

Cadbury Schweppes is reviewing its $250 million global media planning and buying account.

Pitches have already taken place for the US account and the confectionery giant is now reviewing its assignments in Europe and Asia.

The European account is split between OMD, Mediaedge:cia and Carat.

Carat and its sister Aegis agency, BBJ, are the incumbents on the £21 million UK account.

It is understood that pitches will be held on a local basis, but Cadbury intends centralising the accounts into regional networks. Representatives from all of the major agency networks are expected to participate in the pitch process.

Cadbury is one of the biggest confectionery and beverage manufacturers in the world with a market capitalisation of £7.2 billion. It employs 55,000 people and its products are available in more than 200 countries.

However, it produced disappointing results for 2002. Despite increasing profits to £813 million before tax from sales of £5.3 billion, it was hit by increased costs in administration, IT, pension funds and restructuring.

At the time, the Cadbury chief executive, John Sunderland, who is now its chairman, announced that 2003 would be a "year of transition" as the company underwent major restructuring.

This follows the acquisition of the Adams business from Pfizer. Adams manufactures medicated confectionery and gum. Cadbury is expected to face reorganisation costs of £70 million from the purchase.

UK sales have been impressive, with moulded chocolate bars up 18 per cent. However, chocolate bar prices have increased by 4 per cent this year.

No-one at Cadbury was available to comment.