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Turnaround expert recruited for ailing pawnbroker

A TURNAROUND SPECIALIST has been flown in to work with struggling pawnbrokers Albermarle & Bond.

Chartered accountant and Institute for Turnaround member Colin Whipp joins as chief restructuring officer. He has held a number of key roles, including several months as interim CFO at Healthcare Locums after the discovery of alleged accounting irregularities.

He joins the board immediately, along with ACCA-qualified new CEO Chris Gillespie. The new chief was due to start in two weeks’ time, but his appointment was accelerated.

The listed pawnbroker was set to break its banking covenants after failing to secure extra funding – with the lenders extending the covenant deadline until the end of the month.

Falling gold prices and more market competition have left it struggling to manage its higher cost base that resulted from its expansion.

Chairman Greville Nicholls said: “In the current environment, Chris’ experience and leadership will be very valuable to the business. The acceleration of his appointment to the CEO role from the previously planned date is in recognition of his energy and enthusiasm to take up the role and the board’s confidence in the difference he can make to the company. We also welcome Colin on his appointment and I am sure that he will be of great assistance to Chris in his new role.”

Its share price fell 0.5p in today’s trading, to 36p – valuing the business at £20m by market share. Its 52-week high is 266p.

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