Australian grocery wholesaler Metcash has reportedly vetted an interest in purchasing discount supermarket chain Franklins, reported Namnews.

When questioned over Franklins availability, Metcash CEO Andrew Reitzer purportedly told local reporters: "Yes. IGA retailers are absolutely chomping at the bit for new stores, so yes we'd be keen".

In reaction, Franklins' South African owner, Pick `n' Pay, stressed to the news portal that the business is not for sale.

Benefiting from the joint acquisition of Foodlands' Australian assets in November 2005, Metcash announced yesterday (24 May) that net profit increased 23.8% from AUD$103.3m (US$78.2m) to $127.9m during the 2006 financial year.