Canada’s market leader in industrial baking is tipped to be pushing further into the UK with the purchase of Walsall’s Harvestime (2005) bakery.

Industry giant Maple Leaf Foods, which operates Canada Bread and owns the New York Bagel brand, is understood to have entered negotiations with administrators last week.

It is now in the process of completing due diligence on the site, where it would be likely to produce bake-off lines and discontinue plant bread, industry sources told British Baker. Its lawyers are believed to be working round the clock to finalise a bid by a deadline of today.

Maple Leaf is believed to be competing against a second potential buyer, former New Rathbones director Jonathan Price. He is believed to have been negotiating with administrators and the site’s landlord over terms of the lease for the past few weeks. Both buyers have been given until today (March 24) to complete on the deal.

Maple Leaf Foods has already established three New York Bagel Company sites in the UK – in Rotherham, Southend and Cumbria – which employ 260 people. It closed its Peterborough site last year.

Maple Leaf Food’s Canada Bread subsiduary is a leading manufacturer and marketer of value-added flour-based products and its range includes fresh bread, rolls, bagels and sweet goods, frozen par-baked breads and bagels, and specialty pasta and sauces. Canada Bread employs more than 7,000 people in the United States, Canada and the UK.