Pawnbroker suspends shares as debt talks continue

Shares in Albemarle & Bond were suspended from trading this morning after the troubled pawnbroker said its lenders would not be backing its turnaround plans.

The firm, which has been hit the downturn in gold prices, said talks with its lenders were continuing, but the available options – including the sale of the business for less than its debts – “provide no realistic prospect of any value being attributable to the company’s ordinary shares”.

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Albemarle said its lenders have indicated that they might be willing to extend a deadline, due at the end of this month, to test its banking covenants. If no extension is agreed, and the entire debt facility becomes repayable, the pawnbroker said it would not be able to meet this liability.