John West has dismissed rumours it is up for sale following the collapse of Lehman Brothers this week. The canned seafood manufacturer was sold by Heinz to Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking in February 2006 for £290m.

But a spokesman for MW Brands, the immediate parent of John West, said Lehman Brothers itself was only a minority shareholder in a private equity fund managed by a separate legal entity, Lehman Brothers Merchant Banking Partners III, and was not subject to the bankruptcy filing.

“To be clear and avoid further speculation or rumour, it does not imply any sale of assets, site closure, foreclosure by creditors, nor receivership. As far as John West employees, suppliers and customers are concerned, it’s business as usual,” he added. John West currently has a 34% share of the UK canned fish category.