International offices to join enlarged company as soon as possible

The £27.3m acquisition of the UK assets of Ince & Co LLP law firm by AIM-listed Gordon Dadds LLP has been completed and the shares in the enlarged company, Ince Gordon Dadds, have resumed trading. Ince & Co is one of the largest superyacht law firms worldwide.

The international offices of Ince & Co, with the exception of those in China (Beijing and Shanghai), have been left out of the deal for now.

“Because of the regulatory complications of Gordon Dadds being a listed company, it was not possible to bring in the international offices straight away,” an Ince GD spokesman told IBI. “With the exception of the Ince French and Monaco offices, negotiations will result in all the other offices joining Ince GD in the coming months. We were able to bring the China offices in from the start.”

The other international offices are in Germany (Cologne and Hamburg), Greece, Singapore, the UAE and Hong Kong. With Ince France staying outside the deal, Andrew Charlier, who was head of Superyacht at Ince & Co, will no longer hold that position and Duncan Bateson will be the lead person for the superyacht business. It is not known if the twice-yearly superyacht seminars will continue.

Ince France operates offices in Paris, Marseille and Le Havre as well as Monaco and it is understood that superyacht legal work will remain an inherent part of its activities. It is not known at this time if Ince France will continue to operate under an Ince branding. The spokesman said: “While Ince France is not included in the merger, that does not mean that Ince GD will not have a presence in France in the future.”

In addition to the purchase price, Gordon Dadds reported that its revenue for the six months to September 30, 2018 increased to £20.1m from £12.9m in the previous year. Its pretax profit more than doubled to £3.5m compared to £1.3m in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year.

Total fees generated by the combined assets in the deal totalled £30.5m in the year ended April 30, 2018.

The £27.3m consideration is to be paid over a four-year period and with a grant of options on up to three million new shares. Gordon Dadds points out that £12.5m of new borrowing facilities have been arranged. The takeover is anticipated to be earnings-enhancing in the current year before exceptional costs, and significantly earnings-enhancing for Gordon Dadds from April 1, 2019, as duplicated costs are eliminated.

“We are very pleased to have completed the Ince deal,” says Adrian Biles, CEO at Gordon Dadds. “It is a landmark in our development and I’m delighted to welcome our new colleagues. It increases our capacity hugely and we expect it to boost revenue significantly in the coming years. The group has traded to our expectations and the second half of the year should again produce the greater proportion of revenue and profits which gives us confidence that we will meet market expectations for the full year.”