Albemarle posts second warning as losses widen

 
Oliver Smith
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PAWNBROKER Albemarle & Bond saw its share price collapse 33 per cent yesterday after it warned that it expects to make a loss during the first five months of the year.

Albemarle said that market expectations for the year are too optimistic due in part to the company’s failure to publish its 2013 annual report because of the firm’s current uncertainties.

The firm said it has resorted to smelting its own jewellery stock to raise cash.

It has also shut its Speedloan unsecured lending business.

Shares in the group, which have fallen 83 per cent in the last 12 months as the price of gold fell, slumped 33.3 per cent to 24.8p yesterday, giving the group a market value of £13.8m.

The firm, which also offers short-term loans to cash-strapped consumers, first issued a profit warning in April. In October, it failed to agree terms with its largest shareholder to underwrite a £35m equity raising.

Albemarle has suffered as the price of gold fell 26 per cent this year.

“The pledge book has declined by 12 per cent year on year as of 23 November as advances continue to be under pressure from a competitive market and a falling gold price,” Albemarle said in a statement.

“Tough trading conditions have continued to impact our results, but we are making progress controlling costs and managing within our constrained banking facilities,” said chief executive Chris Gillespie.

The company said it is working toward publishing its results around 9 December.