Rumours continue to circulate in the UK press about the potential sale by Cadbury Schweppes of its European soft drinks division.

The Sunday edition of the Independent newspaper has reported that Cadbury Schweppes has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for the unit.

Estimates suggest a sale of the European unit will fetch GBP1BN.

The newspaper did not cite any soures.

Cadbury's European Beverages business carries the Schweppes brand and sells soft drinks and mineral waters in France, Germany and Spain.

Cadbury Schweppes last week reported a rise in sales and pre-tax profits for the half to 19 June, with the company's US beverage division gaining share on its rivals.

Overall beverages sales grew 4%, with the US beverages business posting operating profit up 4% on a 5% increase.

However, European beverages' operating profits declined 6% on a sales decline of 1%. The company said profits were hit by an increase in innovation and marketing and promotional investment behind core brands.