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Hope for Ferrari's workers.

Byline: By Jackie Bow South Wales Echo

Six hundred workers employed at the stricken Ferrari's Bakery company were given a glimmer of hope today.

Union officials say they are optimistic about the future of the Hiwaun-based company, which went into administration last month, after two firms have shown serious interest in the business.

And it has been revealed that should a deal be struck, not only would it mean existing jobs would be saved, but there would be the possibility of expansion.

Both companies now have until Tuesday to make an offer. Hope for bakery workers: A glimmer of hope has been given to 600 Ferrari's Bakery workers whose jobs are under threat.

Union officials are optimistic following news that two companies have expressed a serious interest in the Hirwaun-based company, which went into administration last month.

And it has been revealed that should a deal be struck not only would jobs be saved, there would be the possibility of expansion.

Ferrari's parent company Cleary Foods Ltd has blamed difficulties on a drop in sales and rising costs, made worse by a pending prosecution for 55 alleged food hygiene offences at its Bryngelli Industrial Estate headquarters in 2005. The bakery is still trading and the administrators want to sell it as a going concern.

Ferrari's workforce is spread among two manufacturing sites at Hirwaun and Swansea and 60 shops across South Wales.

Their union leaders have said that there are two potential buyers and see it as an exciting and significant development, but are tempering the news with caution for the moment.

The two companies - one from overseas - are said to be very interested in the business after visits to Hirwaun and Swansea and it is hoped they could be making an offer next week.

John James, district secretary of the Bakers', Food and Allied Workers' Union, said the administrators' deadline for offers was Tuesday. Details had been sent out to more than 60 interested parties.

'They had offers for the shops and equipment but there are two companies interested in buying the business as a going concern and expanding it, with the possibility of more jobs,' said Mr James.

'The administrators have given them time to go away and look at the information. The overseas company is very keen. They were shown around Hirwaun and Swansea on Wednesday.

'We are hopeful an offer will be put in next week. It's early days but it has given a glimmer of hope to the workforce. As soon as an offer comes and the company is sold, we can look forward to happier days.'

Mr James is meeting with administrators today and with workers to update them.
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 26, 2007
Words:445
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