French private-equity investor Montagu has declined to comment on reports it is preparing to sell off French spreads business St Hubert.

According to a report in Les Echos, Montagu has hired JP Morgan to oversee a sale process slated to start this quarter. 

A spokesperson for the private-equity fund told just-food the group will not comment on “speculation”. 

Montagu acquired St Hubert from the UK’s Dairy Crest in 2012 for EUR430m (US$459.4m). Since then the group has invested in product development and expanded its category footprint by tapping into on-trend NPD through launches such as its roll out of soy-based desserts

St Hubert is the second-largest player in the French margarine market behind Unilever. It sells spreads under the St Hubert brand. As well as traditional margarines, St Hubert’s products include items with added omega 3s, as well as plant-based alternatives.

Under Montagu’s ownership, the company has also invested in production capacity. In 2013, the group invested almost EUR3m to raise capacity at its site in Ludres

According to Les Echos, the business generates annual sales of EUR135m.