Premier Foods has confirmed that it is seeking ways to reduce its massive debt burden, amid mounting speculation that the manufacturer could turn to the private equity sector for assistance.

The food manufacturer, whose brands include Hovis, Oxo and Mr Kipling, revealed in August that its debt has escalated to £1.8bn.

Premier has seen its share price fall by 75% over the past year and is now understood to be in talks with a number of private equity groups about an injection of funds, although the company said today that no deal was imminent.

“In response to recent media speculation, Premier Foods confirms that it continues to examine ways of accelerating the reduction of Group debt,” the company said in a statement.

“In recent months, the group has been approached by several parties with proposals in line with this stated priority. The group is examining these proposals amongst other options and a further statement will be made as and when appropriate.

“In the meantime trading continues to be broadly in line with expectations.”