Administrators say they are hopeful of a quick sale after Welsh bakery Ferrari’s went into administration on December 18.

Administrator Begbies Traynor said it had received an "encouraging number of approaches from interested parties in the baking industry", after advertising the businesses for sale as going concerns. Cleary Foods, Ferrari’s parent company, blamed "lower sales and higher costs" as it called in administrators to Ferrari’s and its Swansea-based wholesale sister business, Celtic Savou- ries (formerly called Sweetmans Select Savouries).

It said: "The companies’ sales are down on the previous year, in common with others in our industry. Costs are up, particularly due to higher fuel costs, increases in the minimum wage, and higher materials prices." It claimed the minimum wage was partly to blame.

Ferrari’s is also being prosecuted under the Food Safety Act 1990 after it was found to have breached 55 food hygiene regulations at an annual inspection in November 2005. The case is set to come to court this month.

Ferrari’s, based in Hirwaun near Aberdare, has 60 shops across Wales and is ranked number 15 in British Baker’s new Top 50 bakery retailers list (see pg 4). The company has been operating in South Wales since 1925. Paul Cleary bought Ferrari’s from the original Italian family owners in 1995.

Sweetmans was formed in 1953 by Roger Sweetman and sold to new management in 2003. Last year, Cleary Foods rescued it from administration and renamed it Celtic Savouries.