Russian ketchup maker Baltimor has reportedly said that it is not in talks with Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant Unilever over a possible takeover.

Rumours surfaced earlier in the week that Unilever had signed a protocol of intent to buy 100% of Baltimor Holding, the parent of Russian ketchup giant Baltimor.

However, Bloomberg reported today (17 April) that the Russian sauce company has said that it is in talks with investment funds and Russian banks over the sale of a minority stake. Funds raised would be used to pay down debt.

When contacted by just-food earlier this week, Unilever declined to comment on the report. However, a spokesperson did underline the group’s commitment to expanding in central and eastern Europe.

“Our strategic priorities are developing and emerging markets, personal care and vitality. CEE would obviously fit into the first of these,” the spokesperson said.

Unilever officials could not be reached for further comment today.