Premier Foods plc, the UK’s largest food maker, has confirmed it has received interest for its meat-free business, which includes the Quorn brand.

The company, which reported net debt of GBP1.37bn (US$2.16bn) for the six months to 26 June, faced reports at the weekend that it is facing shareholder pressure to sell assets to bolster its balance sheet.

Premier has said it is “open-minded” about disposals as long as any sale cuts its debt levels but, according to The Guardian, investors are growing impatient about the lack of sales so far.

Investec analyst Martin Deboo has identified assets that Premier could sell for around GBP300m.

In a statement issued yesterday (3 October), Premier said it “noted the weekend press commentary” and repeated it was open to the prospect of disposals.

“As stated at the time of its interim results on 4 August, the board remains open minded about disposals, provided they deliver shareholder value and accelerate the reduction of average net debt/EBITDA,” Premier said.

“As part of this, the group confirms it has received approaches that may or may not lead to a sale of its meat-free business, including Quorn. There can be no guarantee that such a transaction will take place. Further announcements will be made as and when appropriate.”