Better Capital in talks on Albermarle & Bond

Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond is in takeover talks. Picture: TSPL
Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond is in takeover talks. Picture: TSPL
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TROUBLED pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond yesterday said it was in takeover talks with a number of parties including Jon Moulton’s corporate turnaround firm Better Capital.

The pawnbroker last week put itself up for sale as it continues to struggle with a drop in gold prices.

In a statement yesterday it stressed there can be no certainty that an offer will be made as a result of the formal sale process or that any sale will be concluded. “A further announcement will be made as and when appropriate,” it added.

Earlier this week the firm revealed it had suffered a 77 per cent slump in annual profits.

Albemarle remains in talks with its lenders after it was given a three-month reprieve at the end of October to patch up its finances. Its net debt has risen from £46.2 million to £50.6m since the end of its financial year.

For the year to the end of June, the pawnbroker posted a pre-tax profit of £4.9m, down from £21.4m a year earlier, as it was hit by a drop in sales.

Revenues fell 9 per cent to £107.1m as the group was hammered by a 23 per cent plunge in gold prices during the year.

The company’s woes have been compounded by a bill for its failed attempt to secure a £35m cash injection from its biggest shareholder, Ezcorp. It has also seen an exodus of board directors, with five of its six non-executives resigning with immediate effect last month.