2 Sisters Food Group has refused to be drawn on a report it is preparing the ground to sell Holland’s Pies, a claim the UK food giant described as “rumour and speculation”.

The Sunday Times yesterday (10 June) reported 2 Sisters had hired corporate finance house Clearwater International to run a process to sell Holland’s Pies, a business the manufacturer attained when it acquired fellow UK company Northern Foods in 2011.

Earlier this month, the founder of 2 Sisters, Ranjit Singh Boparan, became the president of the business’ parent company Boparan Holdings, with former Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller CEO Ronald Kers becoming chief executive.

Since Mr Boparan’s move was announced in February, the company has said one of his focuses would be to reduce debts at the business. It has already sold a clutch of pizza assets – including the Goodfella’s and San Marco brands – this year.

In February, The Sunday Times also reported 2 Sisters was looking to offload Irish seafood unit Donegal Catch.

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Approached by just-food for a reaction to the latest report centring on Holland’s Pies, 2 Sisters said: “We don’t comment on City rumour and speculation.”

Officials at Clearwater had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.

Some industry watchers believe 2 Sisters needs to reshape its business in order to reduce debts and eat into its pension deficit – and argue the disposals of Holland’s Pies and Donegal Catch would be part of that process.

just-food analysis from May 2018: What are the options for incoming 2 Sisters CEO Ronald Kers?