Administrators hope to get the sale of Harvestime (2005) “wrapped up by Christmas”, as potential buyers start putting offers in.

Joint administrator John Kelly of Begbies Traynor said the six potential buyers had been invited to put offers in this week. He expects all bids to be in by the end of the

coming week.

Administrators may split up the company’s bakeries in Walsall, Peterborough and Leicester and sell them piecemeal, or sell the company as a whole. Mr Kelly commented: “They are quite distinct units, so they could be sold separately. We have an open mind; it depends what is in the best interests of the creditors and which are the best offers.”

Harvestime may be restructured out of administration or its assets sold, he said. All potential buyers have been or are currently connected with the UK baking industry, Mr Kelly revealed and added: “We hope we will have all offers in by next week and get it wrapped up by Christmas. Lawyers work all-night sessions on these things.”

Meanwhile, trading at the Walsall bakery has “much improved”, he said. Administrators made a further 17 redundancies at the end of November – of staff who had been paid up to that date before they were called in. Suppliers remain supportive and staff have agreed to changes in weekend working patterns to make production more efficient.

The bakery has stopped producing crumpets, as they were not a cost-effective line, Mr Kelly added.

Trading will continue as long as there’s interest from buyers in Harvestime (2005), he said.