Dairy Crest has reportedly received a number of bids for its French branded spread business St Hubert.

The sale, which is being run by JP Morgan Cazanove, has attracted interest from both private-equity and trade buyers, Reuters reported.

First-round bids are understood to have been received last month, with second-round bids due on 25 June, the publication noted.

Private equity firms understood to be interested in placing a bid include Cinven, Montagu and PAI Partners, sources told Reuters.

In March, Dairy Crest announced a review of its operations in France. It said the potential sale of French spreads business St Hubert would reduce its debt but also help it to invest in its core operations in the UK, where it could acquire branded businesses.

Most analysts have applauded Dairy Crest's planned sale of St Hubert, which will allow the company to reduce its debt, help the firm invest in its core business and make strategic acquisitions of branded businesses in the UK.

In May, the company insisted it expects to see an improved return from its dairies division after the unit pushed the UK dairy processor into the red in its last financial year.

Dairy Crest could not be reached for comment at the time of going to press. Cinven declined to comment and PAI Partners and Montagu did not return a request for comment.