Administrators said they were on the brink of concluding the Harvestime (2005) sale as British Baker went to press.

Joint administrator John Kelly, of Begbies Traynor, said only one buyer remained in negotiations. Talks were continuing at the unnamed bidder’s pace. A completion date of January 6 was expected.

The buyer is principally interested in the company’s Walsall bakery which is still trading, and is said to have enjoyed a “seamless Christmas”.

British Baker has learned Australian investor Ian Allen dropped out of negotiations and returned to Australia, after studying the Harvestime (2005) business. But, there is a chance he might return.

Family-owned frozen desserts specialist Country Style Foods is the likely buyer, according to industry sources.

The company has expanded rapidly through acquisition over the past years. It now has factories in Stockton, Leeds and Grimsby. It also owns the former Hibernia Foods site in Peterlee, County Durham, which is unused. Country Style chairman Tony Wood said he had “absolutely no comment” when called by British Baker.

Administrators made an asset sale of equipment from one of the two Harvestime bakeries in Leicester before Christmas. Buyer Allied Bakeries said no decision on how the plant and machinery will be used had been made. Harvestime’s Peterborough and second Leicester site remain closed.