Italian tomato products group Mutti has declined to comment on reports Belgium-based private-equity firm Verlinvest is considering buying a 20% stake in the company.

According to Italy’s La Repubblica, the potential deal would help finance Mutti’s target of achieving “global growth in foreign supermarkets and shopping malls around the world”.

However, a spokesperson for Mutti told just-food the company had no comment. “If the company releases an official statement we will update you immediately,” the spokesperson said. Verlinvest could not be contacted for comment.

Mutti sells tomato lines across Europe and in markets further afield including Japan and Australia. In 2014, the company outlined plans to move into the UK market through a deal with local importer RH Amar.

Last year, fledgling US condiments maker Sir Kensington’s, which is building a business supplying retailers such as Whole Foods and foodservice chains like Bareburger, said it had secured financial backing from Verlinvest.