Irish supermarket chain Superquinn has reportedly received six expressions of interest. Asda and Sainsbury’s are said to be among potential bidders, as well as Irish wholesalers Musgrave Group and BWG. Rumours broke last month that the 23-store chain was poised to sell, although Superquinn executive chairman Simon Burke has claimed the company is not for sale.

“At no time have the owners of Superquinn put the business up for sale or contemplated doing so,” he told Irish broadcaster RTE. “If someone knocks on your door and says they’d really love to buy your house and would be prepared to pay you very generously, I think most of us would at least continue the conversation to find out how much they have in mind. We’re not doing much more than that.”

Asda has yet to break into the Irish market but the supermarket chain’s entry could be made easier by a review of retail planning guidelines that could ease the cap on the size of store developments. The aim of the review, which is expected shortly, is to encourage new entrants into the €8bn-plus Irish market, increase competition and lower grocery prices, which are almost 20% higher than in the UK. Under current guidelines, stores in the greater Dublin area are limited to 35,000 sq ft, while those outside the capital are capped at 30,000 sq ft.