Soggy Summer Hits Cold Drinks Sales at Cadbury

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Byline: SARAH MARKS

CADBURY Schweppes became the latest company to admit the wet summer has proved a washout with consumers rejecting cold cans of fizzy drinks in favour of something more warming. The shares shed 2p to 433p as the group confessed fullyear profits would be at the lower end of expectations.

The company reassured investors this was not a profit warning and the analysts' consensus is for pretax profits of [pounds sterling]951.5 million. The maker of Dr Pepper, Orangina and Oasis said sales had been particularly badly affected in Northern Europe. But analysts still prefer Cadbury to Coca- Cola and Unilever, both hit by retailer consolidation in Germany.

Overnight, renewed fears that higher energy prices will have a sustained negative impact on business saw markets in the US and the Far East suffer big falls. The Dow closed 70.30 lower at 10,038.90.In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 124.25 to finish at 10,895.16 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng tumbled 205 to 13,075.43.

In London, the FTSE got off to a slow start, opening 6.3 points lower at 4562.

Cable & Wireless was the biggest faller, down 3% at 991/2p after a fall of 31/4p.

A much-needed slither of good news on the smallpox front began to restore investor confidence in Acambis after the devastating blow earlier this week when the US government cancelled an order for 26.5 million dosages of the vaccine. The allpowerful US Food and Drug Administration has given it the goahead to fast-track an important new vaccine variation.

Modified Vaccinia Ankara, which sounds worse than the disease, is being developed to treat patients who are unable to receive the normal vaccination due to existing ailments.

Fast-tracking means the FDA will do all it can to speed up the lengthy evaluation and approval process. …