Troubled chilled and frozen food business Uniq is understood to be in late-stage talks to sell off its French subsidiary Marie.

Uniq is in talks with an exclusive bidder to secure the sale of Marie, the only division of Uniq to turn an operating profit in 2008. It made £2.7m last year, while overall Uniq made a net loss of £56.2m.

Several French trade buyers were among those in talks, according to a source familiar with the deal, with the foremost being CCA, a meat and ready meals business, and chicken producer LDC.

Uniq declined to comment.