Cadbury Schweppes has admitted it will separate its Americas drinks operations and its confectionery business.

The UK-based group, which owns brands including Dr Pepper and 7-Up, announced the move today (15 March) following speculation over the future of the company.

Cadbury said it is "evaluating the options for separation" and would shed further light on its plans in June.

Cadbury chairman John Sunderland said the move is of "great significance" to the company. He said: "It has been facilitated by acquisitions and disposals over the last decade designed to create a strong and potentially independent Americas Beverages business.

"In the same time, we have built the world's largest confectionery business. We believe now is the moment to separate and give both management teams the focused opportunity to extract the full potential inherent in these excellent businesses."

Cadbury said moves to restructure its drinks operations in the Americas, through bottling acquisitions and a focus on core brands, had "significantly improved" the performance of the business. Last year, the company sold drinks assets in Europe, Syria and South Africa for GBP1.4bn (US$2.7bn).

Cadbury said it is "the right time" to spin off its beverage business in the Americas. Bottling acquisitions has given Cadbury control over 40% of its volumes, while the company said it has managed to "revitalise" its carbonates business in the US.

The company said: "The board believes Americas Beverages now has the appropriate platform to exploit the benefits of focus as a stand-alone business."