Ince to Divest Gibraltar Business, Germany and Singapore Arms Up for Restructure

In its latest attempt to stave off financial turmoil, Ince Gordon Dadds has agreed to sell its Gibraltar business to two employees for £700,000.

The firm has conditionally agreed to sell Ince Gibraltar Limited and Ince Consultancy Gibraltar to Peter Howitt, director of Ince Gibraltar, and Heather Adamson, head of fiduciary for Ince Gibraltar. The pair have already paid £300,000 upfront as a deposit, with the rest to follow in four equal quarterly payments, providing the sale is finalised.

According to the firm, Ince Gibraltar provided clients with ‘legal, fund administration and consultancy services with a focus on e-gaming, fintech and cryptocurrency’. In the most recent audited accounts for the Gibraltar arm, the year ending 31 March 2021, the business generated £1.7m in revenue and roughly £300,000 in profits.

Unaudited results for the year ending 31 March 2022 suggest modest growth, with turnover standing at £1.9m.

Donnie Brown, Ince Gordon Dadds’ newly-installed chief executive, said: ‘This proposed disposal is another step in focusing the group around its core legal business in the UK/EMEA and Asia. I look forward to working with the Gibraltar team to achieve a swift and orderly handover.’

Brown was appointed chief executive in July, replacing predecessor Adrian Biles, who guided Gordon Dadds through its float and buyout of Ince in 2018. In a September statement, Ince said Biles had been ‘removed as a director of the company with immediate effect, as a result of circumstances which may give rise to a conflict of interest between Adrian Biles and the company’.

Later that month, Ince announced it had settled claims with both Adrian Biles and former finance head John Biles. As per the settlement, all parties waived their claims against one another, and the duo paid £670,000 to the firm, while Ince paid £690,000 to both ‘relating to claims for loss of office, rent and other expenses’. It was announced that a further £15,000 would be paid to both ‘for loss of office and their interests in shares in the company’.

The Gibraltar news swiftly follows last week’s announcement that Ince was mulling an ‘accounting consolidation’ of parts of its Germany and Singapore businesses. In Germany, the firm said: ‘A plan is being developed to restructure our European business to align more specifically to our core legal business.’

In Singapore, Ince conceded that trading conditions have been ‘difficult’, in part due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As such, the firm said its former relationship firm in the region, Incisive Law LLC, which was merged into Ince in May 2020, ‘may also be deconsolidated in the group’s accounts as a result of having clarified its local regulatory position.’

Following a muted set of financial results earlier this year, Ince has been in financial distress. In August, the firm managed to raise £9.5m through selling shares in order to stave off what the firm termed ‘financial difficulties’.