The arrangement, which is legal, meant Mondelez was able to pay no UK corporation tax despite accounts showing that Cadbury UK, its subsidiary, made profits of £96.5m in 2014 and £83.6m in 2013.
Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the Commons all-party group on responsible tax, 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.”
Mondelez was born out of Kraft Foods which bought Cadbury five years ago in a deal worth more than £11bn. An FT report after the purchase claimed Cadbury had tax avoidance schemes in place when it was bought by the multinational, saying the chocolate-maker had a system of loans in place that allowed it to reduce its UK tax bill to just £6.4m a year on a profit of £100m.
“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 £200m into both UK-based manufacturing and R&D supporting our 4,500 employees in the UK.
An investigation by the Sunday Times found the company was wiping out Cadbury’s bills using interest payments on an unsecured debt, which is listed as a bond on the Channel Islands’ stock exchange. The interest paid on the loan can be offset as a loss against gains made elsewhere in the company.