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Nov 09, 2009, 10.04 AM IST | Source: Reuters

Cadbury descendant fears loss of firm's UK heritage

It's perhaps understandable that Felicity Loudon bristles at the thought of British chocolate maker Cadbury potentially falling into the hands of US foods giant Kraft.

Cadbury descendant fears loss of firm's UK heritage

It's perhaps understandable that Felicity Loudon bristles at the thought of British chocolate maker Cadbury potentially falling into the hands of US foods giant Kraft.

As a member of the fourth generation of the founding family, Loudon remembers her grandfather Egbert Cadbury's efforts to develop a caring and benevolent company, values she attributes to the family's Quaker roots.

"Their way of looking at life isn't all about money, it's about quality of life and doing good works and I think that's important," she said.

Loudon is afraid that Britain will lose a greatly admired symbol of industry and philanthropy if the 10.2 billion pound (USD 16.85 billion) Kraft initial approach to Cadbury goes ahead as a full takeover.

"I identify them with plastic cheese on hamburgers," she said of Kraft.

The US makers of Oreo cookies, cheese slices and Toblerone chocolate bars made its approach on Sept. 7, which Cadbury turned down. A Kraft offer will have to be formalised by Monday, the deadline set by the UK Takeover panel to either make a formal bid, or walk away from it for six months.

Loudon, who is in her late 50s, feels strongly that everything her Quaker ancestors strove to build could be lost if the deal goes ahead.

"The Quakers were not about financial gains, they were about the quality of living and helping others and that was their message in life," said Loudon, who owns and runs an interiors company called The Private House.

Sitting in the cream-coloured lounge of her London flat in the British capital's posh Chelsea neighbourhood, Loudon talked of how her great-great-grandfather John Cadbury started the company by opening a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham in 1824.

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