Premier Foods has reportedly put its cakes and chilled desserts company Avana Bakeries up for sale.

According to an article in The Telegraph, Premier has appointed NM Rothschild to assist with the sale of the Newport-based company, which is a major supplier of own-label products to Marks & Spencer.

Premier Food’s ready-meals business RF Brookes, which also supplies M&S, has also been put up for sale, according to the newspaper report.

Avana Bakeries was acquired by Premier Foods in its takeover of RHM in 2006.

It was subsequently integrated into the company’s chilled division under the management of RF Brookes to make distribution to M&S more efficient.

Premier Foods refused to comment on the story.

One industry analyst told British Baker that offloading Avana and RF Brookes would fit with Premier Food’s corporate strategy.

"Premier is looking to become a purely branded business, so a couple of own-label companies like these are not exactly core," said the source.

Premier Foods made a pre-tax £73.5m loss in 2007. It said the rising cost of wheat had hit the business hard.