Palmer & Harvey is remaining tight-lipped on rumours it is to be put up for sale.

P&H told The Grocer it could neither confirm nor deny a report on Sky News stating the business had started the selling process with professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

The report, which speculates the business could change hands within months, states the wholesaler’s creditors, Japan Tobacco International and Imperial Tobacco, decided to use last month’s refinancing deal to “explore a change of ownership.”

A spokeswoman for P&H said: “We do not comment on market speculation. Palmer & Harvey recently completed a successful refinancing of the business, and we are focused on capturing the opportunities within our market.”

The latest re-refinancing deal saw the troubled wholesaler extend trade credit facilities with its existing lenders, including Imperial and JTI, in April.

In a statement at the time, P&H said the deal “does not change our commercial relationship with Imperial Tobacco or Japan Tobacco and we look forward to continuing to work with all our suppliers and retail customers to deliver high levels of service, making the most of our scale and knowhow, and to further developing our valued relationships.”

Shortly before the refinancing, the wholesaler agreed a three-year extension to its key tobacco contract with Tesco.

Tesco’s proposed £3.7bn merger with Booker threatened to deliver a mortal blow to P&H as the Tesco contract is understood to represent around 40% of its turnover.

P&H is set to hold its annual conference, Pro Retail on 16 and 17 May.