Thai food manufacturer Charoen Pokphand Foods (CP Foods) insisted today (14 May) that it has not launched a bid for Iglo Group, denying reports linking it to the European frozen food firm.

Iglo Group is understood to have been put up for sale by its private-equity owner, Permira, in March.

According to a number of reports at the weekend, the Bangkok-listed Thai food manufacturer, which has operations and investments in agribusiness, pet food manufacturing and own-label food manufacturing for UK supermarkets, has tabled a GBP2.5bn (US$4bn) bid for the firm.

The Sunday Times reported CP Foods is keen to expand Iglo in Asia and Eastern Europe, where the frozen food market is smaller. The publication also suggested the company might consider teaming up with another private equity firm to make an offer for the company.

However, a spokesperson for CP Foods told just-food this morning: “We would like to clarify that we have not entered into a bid for Birds Eye.”

Asked whether the company had any interest in purchasing the frozen food firm, he added: “We have a lot in the pipeline but we are still studying [options].”

It is understood the sale has generated “strong” interest, although it is not known how many parties have put forward competing bids.

A clutch of private-equity firms have been liked to the sale, with reports claiming that BC Partners, BLACKSTONE, Clayton Dubilier & Rice and Bain Capital have submitted first-round bids for Iglo Group.

According to reports, first-round offers needed to be submitted by a deadline of last Thursday (10 May). The second round of bidding is expected to take place around one month after the first.

Iglo, which is Europe’s largest frozen food group, was formed when Permira purchased Iglo for EUR1.7bn from Unilever in 2006 and then combined it with Findus Italy, which it bought for EUR800m, in 2010.

The business achieved EBITDA growth of 7% in 2011, to EUR325.8m (US$523.9m).