Dairy Crest could be preparing to buy French diet butter and spreads business Saint Hubert for EUR300m (US$378m) from Uniq, according to trade talk on both sides of the Channel.

Last year Saint Hubert sales totalled EUR190m, with brands Saint Hubert butter and margarine brand Le Fleurier.

Since Uniq put this business unit on sale in June, it has attracted a lot interest from potential buyers, some of them French household names. These included Bongrain, owner of the Normandy butter brand Elle et Vire, and Lesieur, France’s largest oils and fats processor.

In 2002, Dairy Crest acquired the St Ivel spreads business from Uniq for EUR86.5m, including well-known brands such as St Ivel Gold and Utterly Butterly, as well as the Vitalite family of products.