UK-based confectionery and soft drinks giant Cadbury Schweppes has reported higher full-year turnover, with its drinks business making good progress in the US.

The company reported turnover of £6.74bn (US$12.9bn) for the 53 weeks ended 2 January, compared to £6.44bn in the previous year, which contained only 52 weeks. Profit before tax rose to £642m from £564m a year earlier.

"2004 was a good year for Cadbury Schweppes with excellent progress in key markets, particularly the US. We successfully built sales momentum in beverages and confectionery while integrating Adams and implementing major cost reduction programmes," said chief executive Todd Stitzer.

Cadbury said its "Fuel for Growth" initiative delivered cost benefits of around £75m during the year, in line with expectations.

Beverage sales were up 2% on the back of strong growth in US carbonated soft drinks led by Dr Pepper and diets. Growth was offset by the impact of the cold summer in Europe. In fact, growth would have been approximately 3% excluding the impact of a poor summer in Europe. 

The company said that the integration of its North Americas beverage business into a strengthened commercial entity was successfully completed during the year, driving both top-line and margin benefits.

"Our CSD business outperformed the market, with sales growth of 5% during the year, led by our flagship Dr Pepper brand and our diet portfolio," the statement said. "The integration of Europe Beverages progressed to plan during the year with notable achievements being the commercial and supply chain integration of the Orangina and Schweppes businesses in France and our distribution systems in Spain."

In 2005, Cadbury said it expects to deliver within its goal ranges for sales and margin growth for the year and to see an uplift in free cash flow generation in line with its goal of generating £1.5bn of free cash flow over the 2004 - 2007 period.

"In beverages, we expect our CSD portfolio to perform well but sustaining the outstanding growth rates we saw in 2004 will be challenging. Our non-CSD portfolio in North America and our European beverage business are expected to have a better year," it added.