Pawnbroker left in doubt after talks collapse

Cash-strapped pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond’s bid to secure a rescue deal was dealt a blow after a potential buyer walked away.

The pawnbroker put itself up for sale early this month. Picture: TSPL

Albemarle said on Tuesday it was still in talks with a number of other interested parties following the withdrawal of corporate turnaround firm Better Capital, whose investments include parcel delivery firm City Link and fashion business Jaeger.

The pawnbroker put itself up for sale early this month after its trading was hit by a slump in gold prices and rising competition in a sector that has more than doubled in size over the past five years.

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It has been trading at a loss in recent months and is in danger of breaching financial covenants while it looks to secure its future before the end of a three-month reprieve from its lenders at the start of February.

Rival chain H&T is understood to be one of a number of trade and financial buyers that have formally lodged interest in buying Albemarle.

Albemarle, which also trades as Herbert Brown, has reduced the size of its estate to under 200 sites, having closed its pop-up gold buying stores.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, it said: “The board of Albemarle & Bond understands that Better Capital has withdrawn its interest in the company’s formal sales process. The board confirms that the formal sales process is ongoing and that it is continuing discussions with a number of interested parties.”

The company has suffered an exodus of board directors.