Lenders to Albemarle & Bond appoint PwC

Cash-strapped pawn broker place up for sale at start of week with £50.1m of debts

  Photograph: Huw Jones

Lenders to funds-strapped pawn store chain Albemarle &amp Bond have employed PwC to advise them on their alternatives.

Telegraph.co.united kingdom understands that Barclays and Lloyds Banking Group, which are owed £50m by the Aim-listed firm, have appointed the accountancy firm to keep track of the scenario and evaluate the effect of any sale.

The business initiated a fire sale on Monday soon after its primary shareholder, US pawnbroker EZCorp, failed to back a £35m rights situation, and soon after the departure of 5 non-executive directors.

Although there is no suggestion that PwC has been employed as an administrator-in-waiting, the appointment reflects the seriousness of the scenario playing out at the 30-yr-outdated business.

The group’s fiscal place is considerably squeezed as it nears the restrict of its £53.3m debt facilities. As of November 27, it had debts of £50.1m.

It has currently pushed back its covenant testing date till February three up coming year, and has asked Canaccord Genuity to find a buyer.

The firm has lost 80pc of its worth considering that the commence of the yr, with its shares falling even more yesterday to close down more than 15pc at 16.06p.

EZCorp’s techniques all around the rights concern recommend it is a most likely suitor of the chain. Other attainable bidders include Hilco, the retail restructuring professional, while reviews suggest Jon Moulton’s Much better Capital may possibly be interested.

Nonetheless with £50.1m of debts and a industry value of just £8.9m, it is possible the lenders will have to get a hair-cut if the organization is to be sold as a going concern.

As properly as its major Albemarle Bond brand, which was founded from a single store in Bristol in 1983, the firm also operates beneath the Herbert Brown fascia, and has a pay day loan arm called Early Payday Loan.

The business employs much more than 1,000 workers and has in the area of 230 retailers across the Uk.

All parties declined to comment.