LONDON (AP) -- British candy maker Cadbury PLC ramped up its defense against a hostile takeover bid from Kraft Foods Inc. on Thursday, reporting 2009 revenue growth and profit margin improvements ahead of its expectations.
Cadbury said its base revenue grew 5 percent last year, with second half growth of 6 percent on the same basis. It said it had improved its trading margin by 1.55 percentage points to 13.5 percent.
The company used the results -- flagged to the market in a trading update earlier this week -- to reinforce its argument that Kraft's 10.3 billion pound ($16.5 billion) bid is unappealing for its shareholders.
"The performance of Cadbury in 2009 underlines our track record of strengthening our business and delivering improved results," said Cadbury chairman Roger Carr. "The board has great confidence in both our growth prospects and the potential for creating further, material shareholder value as a pure-play standalone confectionery business."
Carr added that Kraft's offer "is even more unattractive today than it was when Kraft made its formal offer in December."
Cadbury gave details from its 2009 performance review after the close of the London Stock Exchange, where its shares closed 1.2 percent higher at 799 pence.