Latest reports reveal UK’s second largest pawnbroker, Albemarle & Bond, is up for sale. It looks like there are a few interested buyers and rival competitors planning to bid, including Better Capital, a corporate turnaround company.
Founded in 1983, Albemarle quickly rose to the top after the recession as customers traded in their gold for a very good price. However, after 2011, the economy started to show signs of recovery and the value of gold lost its shine. With the recent sharp fall in gold prices and growing competitors, the pawnbroker has struggled to stay afloat – annual profits had fallen by 77%, that’s £4.9m down from £21.4 million a year before. Albemarle also lost out to a £35 million cash injection from its largest shareholder, Ezcorp and by the end of its financial year, the pawnbroker owed £50.6 million in debt.
After the sale was announced, five non-executive directors resigned with immediate effect, leaving all but one non-executive left, Greville Nichols. Albemarle stated the business was put up for sale to maximise shareholders’ interest.
Albemarle & Bond have tried their utmost best to cut costs and continue trading, however they believe the business cannot be recovered.