Albemarle & Bond, the UK based pawnbroker and financial services company, announced strong interim results in the half year ended on December 31st, 2010 on the back of a 32% increase in its pawn pledge book, continued strong performance of its gold buying business and a recovery of the Speedloan unsecured lending products. Revenues increased to £48.8 million (H1 2009: £39.4 million), while profit before tax held steady at £10.7 million (H1 2009: £10.8 million) after continued investment in the expansion of its pawn broking shop estate and central infrastructure. The interim dividend was kept at 2.75p.

The group opened 16 new full-line stores in H1, with a further 25 openings targeted before the June year end. The company also opened 23 gold buying “pop-up” shops in malls. The new stores are trading ahead of target (on the whole). Gold buying volumes doubled, though margins reduced to a more sustainable level during the period.

Period-end net debt increased to £33.9 million (H1 2009: £29.0 million), leaving £9 million of headroom in the existing facilities which expire in June 2012.

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