Cadbury paid no UK corporation tax despite making a £96.5 million profit

Cadbury's employee Deborah Matthews-Booth, who has worked at the company for 33 years, wears her uniform as she protests outside the Houses of Parliament on February 2, 2010 in London, England. Cadbury employees from around the country are lobbying the Government today to seek assurances of job security should the hostile takeover of Cadbury by American food giant Kraft take place. The deadline for Cadbury shareholders to cast their votes on the 12bn GBP takeover is 1pm today. However most analysts believe a deal will be done bringing an end to 186 years of Cadbury's independence. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson is to hold a meeting with Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld this evening. (Photo by )
A Cadbury’s employee protesting the Kraft takeover back in 2010. Oli Scarff/Getty Images

US giant Mondelez, which owns Cadbury, paid no corporation tax in the UK last year, despite its British operation making a £96.5 million ($145.74 million) profit last year.

An investigation by the Sunday Times found Mondelez is wiping out Cadbury’s bills using interest payments on unsecured debt, which can be offset as a loss against gains made elsewhere. The debt is listed as a bond on the Channel Islands’ stock exchange and is part of the Mondelez group.

The tax efficient structure is perfectly legal but controversial, as it means Mondelez is shifting its profits outside of the UK to get around tax.

Plenty of other companies, many of them US-based, have caught heat for their tax set ups in the UK over recent years, including Starbucks, Uber, Amazon, and Google.

MP Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the House of Commons all-party group on responsible tax, slammed Mondelez for its set up.

She told the Sunday Times: “Multinationals like this are deliberately exporting their profits with artificial company structures to avoid tax. The founders of Cadbury who set it up as an ethical company will be turning in their graves.”

Cadbury’s founding family were social reformers who built a village near its factory in Birmingham to “alleviate the evils of modern more cramped living conditions.”

Cadbury’s making top selling chocolate bars such as Dairy Milk, Bournville, Time Out, Wispa, Twirl, Flake, and Crunchie.

Mondelez, which was spun out of Kraft Food in 2012, bought Cadbury for £11.5 billion ($17.3 billion) in 2010. The deal was controversial at the time and has proved to be since, after Kraft went back on job cut promises made during negotiations on the deal.

The Guardian quotes a Mondelez spokesperson as saying:

In common with all global businesses, we pay corporation tax based on the laws of the countries in which we operate.

We comply with all applicable tax legislation in the UK, and on a global basis we pay hundreds of millions of dollars in corporate income tax annually. Since 2010 we are proud to have invested over £200 million into both UK-based manufacturing and R&D supporting our 4,500 employees in the UK.

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