LONDON: Superquinn, the Irish supermarket chain, said it had received expressions of interest from British retailers but denied its owners had put the business up for sale.

A spokesman for Superquinn and its owners, Select Retail Holdings (SRH), said “more than one” major British supermarket group had approached Goldman Sachs after the investment bank handled the sale of Bernard McNamara’s 14.5 percent stake in the chain in the spring.

“There was a disposal earlier this year from one of the original investors and it would appear that on the back of that there have been some expressions of interest,” he said.

He declined to comment further beyond stating that SRH was “not actively looking to sell the business”.

Superquinn has 23 stores and a 7 percent share of the Irish grocery market.

Irish newspapers have put a price tag on the business of around 450 million euros (360 million pounds) and named possible suitors as Waitrose, owned by the John Lewis Partnership, Asda, owned by Wal-Mart Stores, and J Sainsbury.

However, a spokeswoman for Waitrose said the retailer had not made an approach. Asda and Sainsbury declined to comment.

The newspapers said competition rules would probably prevent Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, from buying Superquinn as it is already the second-biggest player in the Irish grocery market. Tesco also declined to comment.