Dozens of West Midlands jobs have been spared after pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond was rescued in a deal that saves the majority of stores.
A consortium of international investors led by former Bank of Scotland chief executive Sir Peter Burt’s Promethean Investments has snapped up the bulk of the group, preserving 128 branches and 628 staff roles, after it collapsed into administration.
But it means the future for 59 sites employing 181 workers is uncertain as they remain in the hands of administrators at PwC.
However, stores in Birmingham city centre, Bearwood, Kings Heath, Acocks Green, West Bromwich, Northfield and Chelmsley Wood have all survived the cull. In all, the group employed 62 people in the region.
Restructuring specialist Stephen Plowman has been named as new chief executive of the business, which is to “refocus back to its core business lines of pawnbroking and jewellery retailing and return it to profitability”.
It appears to signal a move away from payday loan and cheque-cashing services.
Mike Jervis, lead administrator at PwC, said: “The deal announced today was the best offer received, preserving the most jobs and keeping the most stores open.
“All 120,000 pledged items remain safe and available for the customers to redeem.”
Albemarle, which is the second biggest pawnbroker in the UK serving 140,000 customers, collapsed into administration last month, since when its assets have also been in the sights of rival H&T.
The chain prospered during the downturn as banks tightened lending, reaching a peak market value of £220 million in 2011, and expanding rapidly.
But it fell victim to plunging gold prices and increased competition and was left with overstretched finances which forced it to melt down gold jewellery stocks in order to raise cash.
The company was founded in Bristol in 1983 with a single shop. It also trades as Herbert Brown.