Upmarket chip maker Kettle Foods is to host a number of prospective buyers at its UK site over the next few weeks.

The news follows reports last month that owner Lion Capital is preparing to sell the snack maker for around US$700m.

Citing a source "familiar with the matter", Reuters said that the private equity fund had hired investment bank Rothschild to handle the transaction.

The Wall Street Journal reported that PepsiCo's Frito-Lay and Snyder's of Hanover were among the potential bidders for the up-market chip maker. 

A spokesperson for Kettle Foods, however, said today (14 January) that the firm was "doing well" and building "a great brand" and could see "strong opportunities to keep on growing".

"Lion Capital has received a number of approaches from parties interested in buying the business and consequently we have been asked to host several visits over the coming weeks," the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that Kettle would not comment on the identity of the interested parties.

"Whether an offer for the business is made that Lion Capital finds acceptable very much remains to be seen," the spokesperson said.

Kettle employs around 730 people across production sites in the US and the UK and in 2008 generated sales of $235m.