UK pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond rescue saves 628 jobs

LONDON, April 15 Tue Apr 15, 2014 6:11am EDT

LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - British pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond will be bought out of administration by investment fund Promethean Investments in a deal which will save the majority of its stores and 628 jobs, administrators said on Tuesday.

The acquisition comes a day after Britain's biggest pawnbroker H&T said it was ending talks regarding the possible acquisition of some of A&B's assets.

Administrator PwC said in a statement that the deal with Promethean involved it taking on 128 A&B stores out of 187, and 628 staff out of a workforce of 809.

A&B was in 2011 hit by the fall of gold after it expanded heavily, having reached a market capitalisation of over 220 million pounds during that year. It put itself up for sale in December, but was unable to find a buyer and its shares were suspended in March before administrators were appointed.

"The deal announced today was the best offer received, preserving the most jobs and keeping the most stores open," PwC's Mike Jervis said in a statement.

A&B specialises in providing short-term loans to individuals and small businesses against items such as watches and jewellery, and it also buys gold.

Promethean, leading the investment on behalf of a group of backers, appointed Stephen Plowman as the new chief executive of A&B. He has 30 years experience in banking insurance, consumer finance and restructuring. (Reporting by Sarah Young, Editing by Paul Sandle)

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