Premier Foods has confirmed the sale of its meat-free business in the latest bid by the manufacturer to cut its billion-pound debt.

The Quorn and Cauldron meat-free brands have been bought by Exponent Private Equity in a deal worth £205m, with the transaction set to complete by March. The meat-free business generated sales of £128.8m in 2010, with pre-tax profits of around £19m.

Premier said the sale would help it concentrate on key brands including Hovis.

“This deal represents another step along the road to achieving a capital structure which we believe will be more attractive to investors,” said chief executive Robert Schofield. “It will also enable the business to focus further on building our current portfolio of great British brands.”

Exponent’s Chris Graham said: “Quorn and Cauldron are strong and robust brands with a loyal customer base. With additional investment both in the UK and internationally we believe we can grow the business further.”

Read more
Premier fights to get higher Quorn price (29 November 2010)
Premier may have to sell Hovis, say experts (25 October 2010)
Is Quorn still cool enough to help rescue Premier Foods? (analysis; 9 October 2010)