Administrators are considering a number of offers for Harvestime (2005), after setting a deadline for bids of today (Friday, December 16).

Speaking as British Baker went to press, joint administrator John Kelly of Begbies Traynor said he still expects a couple more offers and hopes to get a deal finalised by Christmas.

Australian investor Ian Allen remains an interested party, and will be sitting down with administrators before the deadline, Mr Kelly said. He added: “I don’t know if Harvestime will be split. The way that people put offers together requires some work from administrators to decide which to accept.”

Meanwhile, trading continues to improve at Harvestime’s Walsall bakery, which is being run by administrators, Mr Kelly said. Losses had been significantly reduced since administrators were called in. “We hope to break even fairly soon,” said Mr Kelly.

Overall quality of deliveries to Tesco has improved from being quite poor in the first week, and the workforce remains co-operative and supportive, he added.

A skeleton staff is being retained at Harvestime’s Leicester and Peterborough bakeries, to maintain security and show buyers around, Mr Kelly said. Details of the 450 staff made redundant by administrators will be given to buyers when a sale completes, with the hope they may be re-employed, he added.

Harvestime (2005) called in administrators on November 18. It was apparently losing £250,000 a week at the time.