US chocolate and petfood giant Mars is stirring up its European operations.

The secretive family-run business has launched a review to look at "sales growth, manufacturing capacity and overheads, and ways of working".

The company, which employs 11,000 people across Europe, produces global brands such as Mars bars, Snickers and Twix as well as Uncle Ben's Rice and Pedigree petfoods.

Employees in the UK are fearful that the review is shorthand for closure of the company's British base in Slough, west of London, with the loss of around 1,700 jobs.

Says Pierre Laubies, president of the European division: "We need to ensure our business constantly adapts and responds to the competitive landscape."

The firm, legendary for its cloak and dagger approach to business, is controlled by the favored descendants of founder Forrest Mars, who died in 1999 at the age of 95.

Forrest Mars Junior, Jacqueline Mars and John Mars are now counted as three of the richest people in the world.

Data sourced from BBC Online; additional content by WARC staff