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A deal for the purchase of ailing biscuit maker Unibic Australia could be signed this week, the administrators have told just-food.

Insolvency firm Lawler Draper Dillon, which was last week appointed as administrator of the Melbourne-based Anzac cookie and biscotti maker, said it is conducting independent valuations of the assets and stock of the firm “to test the appropriateness of a contract of sale” negotiated with an unnamed buyer.

Glenn Franklin of Lawler Draper Dillon said it was “too early” to be conclusive about the reasons for the company’s failure, but that it appeared Unibic was more recently “operating at a time when the prices of raw materials were rising and margins were being squeezed in the food and grocery industry”.

Unibic chief executive Michael Quinn told local media last month that the manufacturer had been dealt a string of “king hits”, with the supermarket price war between Coles and Woolworths Ltd, leaving it unable to pass on rising ingredients costs to consumers.

Production at Unibic’s Broadmeadows factory in northern Melbourne has now been stopped, with its 170 staff on paid leave, pending the proposed sale and the first meeting of creditors next week, Franklin told just-food.

“If the valuations are confirmed, it is possible a sale could be agreed this week. The prospective buyer is a private company which intends to resume production, which was stopped last week.”

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By GlobalData

Unibic is Australia’s fourth-biggest biscuit maker.