Germany's largest meat processor Tönnies is growing and expanding as the next generation of the family is taking over, managing partners of it said on Friday, declining to comment on a report that the group was seeking a buyer.
'We do not comment on market rumours. After all, it is we who create the market and push for expansion,' Clemens Tönnies and Maximilian Tönnies said in a letter to staff that was seen by Reuters.
"Interested groups" were spreading sales rumours, it said.
Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that the family owners were seeking buyers for the 50-year-old firm and that a deal could value it at €4 billion ($4.8 billion).
Clemens Tönnies owns around 45% of the stock, his nephew Robert Tönnies around 50% and Clemens' son Maximilian around 5%.
'With Maximilian, the next generation is active in management, our international expansion is progressing step by step,' the letter said.
Tönnies could be seen as a target for peers such as Tyson Foods, JBS SA and China's WH Group and talks could start within weeks, Bloomberg said.
Tönnies had hit the headlines after a coronavirus outbreak at its main plant in North Rhine-Westphalia last year, which hit more then 1,500 of its staff and led to a temporary closure of the site.
In March of last year, the company reported increased sales for the financial year 2019, driven by rising demand from Asia, especially China.
Sales increased by 9.8% year-on-year in 2019, to €7.3 billion ($8.24 billion).