Health food retailer Holland & Barrett’s private equity owner is lining up the possible sale of the business this year, according to reports.

US private equity group Carlyle, which has owned the health food and vitamins chain since 2010, is lining up bankers to pitch to run an auction for the sale, according to The Sunday Telegraph.

Sources told the newspaper a sale is likely in the near term, with a final decision on whether to offload the business expected by the summer. The price tag could be an estimated £1bn. 

However, Carlyle could yet decide against a sale as a growth plan takes shape, it was reported.

Last month Holland & Barrett reported a 12% jump in full-year pre-tax profits after a 11.7% hike in sales.

It also announced plans to expand its overseas expansion. The retailer already has businesses in 11 countries, including Malta, Singapore and China, where it has 34 franchise stores and two shops on etail giant Alibaba’s Tmall platform.

Carlyle acquired Holland & Barrett’s owner NBTY in 2010. NBTY had owned Holland & Barrett since 1997.