Pawnbroking firm’s shares are suspended

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SHARES in Albemarle & Bond pawnbrokers have been suspended after it was told by lenders they will not be able to support its plans to save the business.

The banks’ rejection of the management strategy means there are just seven days left to find a solution for the Reading-based group before March 31.

The firm has a branch in London Road, North End.

Albemarle said a cut-price sale of the business was still a possibility but warned that the remaining options open to it ‘provide no realistic prospect of any value being attributable to the company’s ordinary shares’.

Trading in the Aim-listed stock was suspended at 6.65p, with the shares having lost about 97 per cent of their value in the last year.

In January, analysts said the company looked likely to go into administration after it abandoned an attempt to sell itself, saying none of the proposals it had received represented a fair value for the business.

Plunging gold prices and competition have left the group struggling with losses and overstretched finances.

Albemarle has warned that earnings will be significantly below expectations.