LONDON: Cadbury, after Mars the world's largest marketer of chocolate, on Wednesday stood by its fiscal forecast for 2008 notwithstanding a frail fourth quarter, notably in the US.

In a conference call with reporters ceo Todd Stitzer (above) revealed that growth in North America was slowing. "After near-double-digit growth for the last four to five years, we're in the mid-single digits now."

The company would nonetheless meet forecasts made in July that 2008 revenue growth will be at the rosier end of its of its 4%-6% target range.

Margins are forecast to improve by around 1.2 percentage points and Cadbury also expects to expand these – currently just under 11% - to "the mid-teens" by 2011.

Stitzer also reported that the chocolatier had all but quit the soft drinks business. Earlier this year it spun-off its Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and now intends to dispose of its sole remaining beverage operation in Australia.

He declined to reveal the price tag.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff