Pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond appoints PwC as administrator

Oliver Smith
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ALBEMARLE & Bond called in administrators yesterday, just a day after the struggling pawnbroker said that its lenders no longer supported the management’s turnaround plan.

Albemarle’s board said that the decision had been made due to Albemarle’s inability to regain the support of its lenders on Monday – including Lloyds Banking Group and Barclays to which Albemarle owes more than £50m – and ongoing trading losses in the business.

The board added that there is: “No realistic prospect of any value being attributable to the company’s ordinary shares.”

On Friday shares in Albemarle slipped 10.6 per cent to 6.65p – 97 per cent less than they were worth a year ago – valuing the company at just £3.76m, before shares were frozen on Monday morning.

“The board has therefore concluded that, in such circumstances, the appointment of an administrator is the most appropriate course of action,” they said yesterday.

Albemarle has struggled due to the sharp fall in the price of gold, which caused profits for the year to June to slump 75 per cent to just £4.9m.

The firm had earlier attempted to put itself up for sale to interested parties – including Bitcoin investor Fortress Investment Group which had looked to buy Albemarle’s £50m debt – however, it said none of the proposals it received has represented fair value.

PricewaterhouseCoopers has been appointed by Albemarle’s board to manage the business while in administration.


1 Mike Jervis has over 20 years’ experience at PwC, with all of that time spent in restructuring and insolvency where he is a partner.

2 Jervis has worked on major insolvency cases including Enron and Parmalat. He co-led the sale of the insolvent Lehmans UK equity and prime brokerage business to Nomura in 2008.

3 As well as working on the team that helped save 3,000 jobs at high street retailer Game with its sale, Jervis also supports Everton football club and is an avid sea-kayaker and runner.

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PwC’s administration team for Albemarle & Bond, led by Jervis, includes Peter Dickens, Toby Underwood and Stuart Maddison. The team has already stated that all Albemarle’s staff and landlords will be paid as normal in March and a sale of the business will be pursued by the administrators.