Premier Foods plc has completed the sale of its meat-free unit to Exponent Private Equity, which has created Quorn Foods, a company with the aim of developing the world’s “leading meat-alternative business”.

The GBP205m (US$331.9m) deal, first announced in January, was sealed today (7 March) and Exponent’s Simon Davidson said the private-equity firm would “back the management team’s plans to grow the business”.

“We have invested in Quorn Foods because of the very prominent position of its brands within the UK market and its strong international growth potential,” Davidson said.

“We’re backing the management team’s plans to grow the business in the UK and internationally via investment in advertising and new product development, as well as through capital expenditure and infrastructure improvements.”

Former Kellogg UK marketing director and general manager Kevin Brennan, who joined Premier to head the meat-free business, is the new CEO of Quorn Foods. Clive Sharpe, the former CEO of UK snack maker Golden Wonder, has been named Quorn Foods chairman.

The Quorn brand is on sale in ten markets and is a “rapidly-growing business in the US”, Exponent said. Quorn Foods will also sell products under the Cauldron brand.

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Premier, which built up its meat-free business with the 2005 acquisitions of Marlow Foods – which sold the Quorn brand – and Cauldron Foods, sold the business as part of plans to lower its debts.