quorn ceo kevin brennan

Quorn will remain focused on rapid expansion in the US despite the opportunities opened up by new Asia-based owner Monde Nissin, CEO Kevin Brennan has insisted.

Exponent Private Equity sold the meat-free brand this week to the Philippines consumer goods group for £550m, more than double the £205m it paid Premier Foods in 2011.

Monde Nissin quickly put together the offer before the first round of bids were tabled by the circling trade and private equity suitors, including Nomad Foods, McCain, Danone and Kerry Group.

“They [MN] have ambitions to build a more international business so we’re actively focused on the UK, Europe and the US,” Brennan said. “We sell virtually nothing in Asia at present so the incremental opportunities there are obvious.”

He added that Quorn had previously spent time looking at markets from India and Malaysia to Singapore and Thailand but had decided to focus on the UK, Europe and the US where the brand was already growing.

“The US remains the number one international priority. By putting a team on the ground we have already sunk a considerable amount of money there, so we will continue to push ahead.

“Whilst there are no synergies in the US for Monde Nissin, they are keen to invest and grow in those markets. They can see a big opportunity for the business and given it is a permanent owner with a long-term view they can invest the right amount.”

Profits surged almost 50% to £26m at Quorn in 2014 as sales rose 7% to £150.3m on the back of increased demand for healthy foods and a US deal with Starbucks. Revenues this year are expected to rise to £160m, with first half US sales up 30%.