Irish healthcare group Alltracel has responded to press speculation regarding a possible takeover by confirming that it has indeed “received a very preliminary approach” from a third party.

The move could lead to an offer being made for the entire issued share capital of the company, it said, but stressed this is by no means a certainty as discussions are at a very early stage.

Although the identity of the potential partner remains a secret, analysts have fingered two of the groups partners – Bristol-Myers’ Squibb’s wound care division ConvaTec and HemCon Medical Technologies – as potential suitors, according to the Financial Times.

Seemingly touting its wares, the group also released a company update yesterday claiming “solid growth” in 2007, which should continue over this year.

Tony Richardson, Alltracel’s chief executive, said the group was particularly pleased that the integration of Synpart AG, which it bought in August 2007, was going so well, and claimed that the acquisition is expected to “significantly drive” revenue growth in 2008.

Furthermore, the firm said it is in late stage discussions to in-license its first technology for commercialisation in “a variety of consumer healthcare product sectors”, which should also bump up sales.

Alltracel’s results statement will be published in April.