A RESCUE of pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond is expected to be completed this week after a deal was struck to save some of its 183 branches and hundreds of jobs.
Administrators from accountancy giant PwC said yesterday that negotiations with a preferred bidder for the sale of the business as a going concern were at an advanced stage.
The update came after a weekend newspaper report said former Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Peter Burt was poised to buy the majority of the company through his Promethean Investments private equity vehicle.
It is thought that the bid will be backed by US private equity group Apollo, which will be buying up the stricken pawnbroker’s debts. However, the deal appears unlikely to include all of Albemarle’s stores.
The chain, which is the second largest pawnbroker in the UK serving 140,000 customers through pawnbroking, gold buying, cheque cashing and unsecured lending, has also been in the sights of rival firm H&T.
Albemarle was the victim of plunging gold prices and increased competition, leaving it with overstretched finances that forced it to melt down gold jewellery stocks in order to raise cash.
The company, which currently employs some 900 people across Britain, was founded in Bristol in 1983 with a single shop.
It also trades as Herbert Brown. A statement issued by PwC yesterday said: “Mike Jervis, joint administrator at PwC, can confirm that negotiations with a preferred bidder for the sale of the Albemarle & Bond Group as a going concern are at an advanced stage.
“The deal is set to be completed early next week. All customer pledges are protected. No further comment will be made until then.”