The collapse is the biggest for a listed firm since the market’s liberalisation to permit external shareholding
A major creditor has dropped Ince Group, forcing the City firm to enter administration, the Law Society Gazette reported.
The firm released a statement to the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon regarding the decision. Staff members from insolvency specialist Quantuma have been tasked with the administration – the intent is to get the business ready for sale to a third party as soon as possible.
According to the Gazette, Ince’s collapse is the biggest for a listed firm since the liberalisation of the market to permit external shareholding.
“The length of the auditing process has put increasing pressure on the cash flows of the business. As a result, the company has been holding discussions with its major lender and other creditors, including HMRC, to establish their level of support”, Ince Group plc explained to shareholders, indicating that the decision to enter administration was made “in order to preserve the future value of the group's business and to protect the interests of employees and other stakeholders the board”.
The firm’s financial troubles began in 2021. Profits came in at just £300,000, and diluted earning per share were only 0.5p. Moreover, net debt was over £6.5m.
Cyberattacks taking place in 2022 formed part of the reason for Ince’s fall, as did profit warnings and dipping share prices. The firm revealed in May 2022 that revenue had dropped below expectations due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the blow to its IT systems.
In August 2022, the firm received £9.5m in investments, but share prices were halved in the process. Chief executive Adrian Biles stepped away around this time, and the firm wound up divesting subsidiary Arden Partners at a loss.
Ince’s shares have been suspended at 5.15p since the start of this year. The Gazette reported that the firm had pushed back the release of annual results “repeatedly”, and that the audit process for the year ending 31 March 2022 remained unfinished.
A resolution to file documents with the court for administrator appointment was reached on Wednesday by the directors of Ince Group, Ince Consulting Holdings Limited and Ince Gordon Dadds Services Limited, along with the members of Ince Gordon Dadds Holdings LLP and Ince Gordon Dadds LLP.