Ireland-based baker Promise Gluten Free and its private-equity owners Mayfair Equity Partners are exploring a sale of the company, Just Food understands.

A potential auction process would be overseen by investment bank Lincoln International.

Both Promise Gluten Free and Mayfair Equity Partners declined to comment on the matter when contacted by Just Food today (14 March), as did Lincoln International via its London office.

Mayfair Equity Partners, also based in London, took an undisclosed majority stake in Promise Gluten Free in 2017. Financial terms were not revealed.

Patrick O’Sullivan, who joined Co. Donegal-headquartered Promise Gluten Free as CEO in 2018, told Just Food in January that the business is seeking to surpass €60m ($65.6m) in sales, with a particular focus on the US market.

Ireland, the UK and Canada are the company’s core markets but expansion in the US is a priority for this year and next, O’Sullivan said, as he also eyes new destinations in Sweden, the Nordic countries and Spain.

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“We have tested our fresh, gluten-free bakery model in Canada. The US market is a frozen gluten-free market and the velocities are a fraction of what we sell in Canada. If we could replicate 50% in the US, we would have huge success,” the CEO said at the time.

Promise Gluten Free is a branded bakery business for the Promise Gluten Free line and the Gallaghers Bakehouse conventional sourdough brand. The company has listings in Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Morrisons.

O’Sullivan embarked on a new strategy soon after joining, exiting the private-label and foodservice channels. However, Promise Gluten Free still serves the discounters in the UK.

The company’s second manufacturing facility in Scranton, Pennsylvania, which had been making what O’Sullivan described as confectionery products, will start producing the “core” bakery lines in the second half of this year as the manufacturing “hub” for North America.