Albemarle and Bond is rescued from scrapheap

Michael Bow
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THE UK’S second biggest pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond will remain a fixture of the high street after it was rescued from bankruptcy yesterday.

The company, second to rival H&T in the pawnbroking market, has been acquired by a consortium led by former Bank of Scotland boss Sir Peter Burt and his investment firm Promethean Investments.

PwC, acting as administrator, said Promethean would take over 128 Albemarle & Bond stores, saving 628 jobs. But 59 stores have not been sold, ­putting 181 jobs in jeopardy.

Workers at stores that have not been saved have been informed, PwC administrator Mike Jervis said.

“The deal announced... was the best offer received, preserving the most jobs and keeping the most stores open,” he added.

Customers who have pledged items are also saved, after PwC said all 120,000 items remained “safe and available” for customers to redeem.

Promethean is hiring a new chief executive to lead the salvaged company. New boss Stephen Plowman is a 30-year veteran of corporate restructuring.

A&B collapsed into administration last month. The company had been hit by a slide in the price of gold – a key component of its business – and overstretching its expansion.

Around 10 initial expressions of interest were lodged with administrators to buy the company, before this was whittled down to a handful including Promethean and rival H&T.