PwC administrators called to listed pawnbroker

by Rachael Singh

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26 Mar 2014

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Mike Jervis

PWC ADMINISTRATORS have been called to listed pawnbroker Albermarle & Bond.

Michael Jervis (pictured), Peter Dickens, Toby Underwood and Stuart Maddison, all from PwC, were appointed joint administrators to the company which has 183 branches and employs nearly 900 staff.

Albermarle & Bond is the second-largest pawnbroker in the UK. The administrators said that 40 of the group's pop-up branches were closed in 2013, as the price of golf slumped.

"The group expanded its branch portfolio in the period to early 2013 and ended up with too many underperforming outlets," Jervis, partner at PwC, said. 

"It then explored a rights issue to raise funds, before attempting a solvent sales process. Together, these efforts lasted more than six months. Despite this history many different parts of the group, and large swathes of its shops, remain profitable." 

On 24 March, the company announced that its lending banks were unable to support a management turnaround plan and that there was no "realistic prospect" of any value to the ordinary shares. The company suspended its shares from trading on AIM on 24 March.

Following the appointment of administrators the financial adviser, nominated adviser and broker Canaccord Genuity stepped down from the business. If Albermarle & Bond fails to appoint a nominated adviser within a month its admission to AIM will be cancelled.

The administrators said that they would keep items customers had pawned safe and available for redemption as normal and that they planned to sell parts or all of the business.

All staff and landlords have been paid with all branches to remain open. However, the administrators wouldn't rule out future redundancies or staff closures.

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