The St Huberts division manufactures Cholegram, Le Fleurier and Omega 3

The St Hubert's division manufactures Cholegram, Le Fleurier and Omega 3

Dairy Crest, the UK's largest dairy processor, is to review the future of St Hubert, its branded spreads business in France.

The company acquired St Hubert in 2007 with a view of securing further deals in Europe. Dairy Crest said St Hubert had "consistently" increased its market share and profitability but added it had been unable to make "additional synergistic acquisitions" on the continent.

"Greater value may be generated for shareholders through the consideration of all the available options for St Hubert," Dairy Crest said today (9 March).

The division manufactures Cholegram, Le Fleurier and Omega 3, the top selling spreads in France, which account for 36% of the market.

However, Dairy Crest said a potential sale of the business would reduce its debt and help it invest in its core business and make strategic acquisitions of branded businesses in the UK.

"Any acquisitions would be synergistic and made within strict financial criteria, as will any decision over the future of St Hubert," Dairy Crest said. "Whatever the results of the review, Dairy Crest will continue to develop its broadly based UK business including its strong portfolio of brands." Dairy Crest brands include Cathedral City, Country Life, Clover and Frijj.

The group said it planned to continue with its progressive dividend policy.

Dairy Crest expects to issue its full-year trading update on 29 March and its preliminary results for the year ending 31 March on 24 May.