PAWNBROKING firm Albemarle & Bond’s shares plunged 12 per cent yesterday as investors priced in a drop in gold buying activity that is set to slow the firm’s profits next year.
The firm said in its annual results yesterday gold buying volumes were set for a “major reduction” compared to the first half of this year.
Gross profits for its gold buying operations increased 49 per cent for the full year following an 87 per cent increase in the first half of the year, as shoppers came to cash in their gold for high prices.
Yesterday it said it had bought an online payday loan provider for £1.2m and two branches of a pawnbroker in Southall for £700,000.
The move is part of a plan to drive growth through acquisition and a squeeze for returns from its existing portfolio.
It meant the firm is also set to reduce the number of new stores it opens this financial year, dropping to five from 25 in the year ending 30 June.
Shares in the Aim-listed firm, which is headquartered in Wakefield, dropped 12.1 per cent in trading down to 2.6p on the back of the results.