Premier Foods has put its French bakery unit Sofrapain up for sale, just-food understands.

According to a source close to the company, the Hovis maker is selling the unit in order to reduce debt. At the end of last year, Premier’s debts stood at around GBP1.6bn (US$3.2bn).

Stamford Partners, a food-industry specialist investment bank, is handling the sale.

It remains unclear how much Premier hopes the sale will net.

When contacted by just-food, Premier declined to comment on what it termed “transaction speculation”.  

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Premier acquired Sofrapan As part of its RHM purchase last year. Following the RHM deal, Premier has increasingly focused on core brands in order to drive profitability.

This disposal is the latest in a string of divestures as Premier has offloaded RHM’s non-core businesses.