Greencore, the Irish food group, today (17 November) revealed that it is studying a number of approaches for its malts business.

The company runs Europe's third-largest malting business and said it was "exploring" a number of "unsolicited approaches" for the operations.

The potential suitors are "international ingredients companies with large-scale malting businesses", Greencore said, although the company declined to name the companies behind the interest.

"These approaches are being explored. However, at this stage there can be no certainty that a transaction will be forthcoming," a statement to the Irish Stock Exchange read.

A spokesman for Greencore refused to comment further when contacted by just-food.

Greencore does not reveal sales and profit numbers for its malt operations but the unit booked flat operating profits for the six months to 27 March.

On a constant-currency basis, operating profit from continuing businesses rose by 2.1% within Greencore's ingredients and property division.

Group operating profit was up 4.6%.