Premier Foods has bought Marlow Foods, the owner of meat substitute brand, Quorn, from Montagu Private Equity for £172m.

As part of the deal, Premier said that Marlow would continue to operate as a stand-alone unit and would be run by its existing management team, headed by managing director Nick Hughes.

However, the acquisition would generate purchasing and administrative synergies of £4m a year by 2008, Premier said.

Premier also plans to increase Quorn’s brand investment to maximise growth potential. Quorn sales were £79m in 2004.