RHM Bread Bakeries has bought Harvestime (2005)’s main Leicester bakery and plans to start production “as soon as possible”.

The site, which has bread and morning goods facilities will be RHM’s 18th bakery. It will provide additional capacity to meet current demand and anticipated future growth, RHM said. As it had been inactive for almost three months, various checks will be needed before start-up, a spokesman said. “We will be looking to commence production on a phased basis as soon as possible,” he added.

RHM bought plant and equipment from Harvestime’s administrators Begbies Traynor on February 3, and negotiated the transfer of the lease for the site directly with its landlord Westmoreland Investments. Administrators had ended the lease at the landlord’s request.

Administrators are also working on a deal to save Harvestime’s Walsall bakery. An offer from a food industry buyer was being completed as British Baker went to press. The deal is understood to involve Harvestime commercial manager Brian Clarke, but not Australian investor Ian Allen. Bidder Country Style Foods dropped out of negotiations last month, due to problems with the lease.

The 320 staff at the Walsall site are reported to have been “extremely supportive” during the whole process.

The story so far

May 12 Harvestime (2005) is formed through management buyout from administration of former New Rathbones sites in Walsall, Leicester (two sites) and Peterborough.

November 7 Australian investor Ian Allen buys Harvestime (2005).

November 18 Ian Allen calls in administrators. The Leicester and Peterborough sites are closed, with 450 job losses, and 20 redundancies are made at Walsall.

November 30 Administrators make 17 further redundancies in Walsall.

December 24 Allied Bakeries buys equipment at the Leicester Simplex site.

January 20 A further 70 to 80 staff are made redundant at Walsall.

February 3 Bread plant and equipment from the remaining Leicester bakery is sold to RHM. RHM takes over the lease.