The prospects of creditors of what was Ince & Co have improved modestly over the past year, but they still face losing most of their money, according to joint administrators Quantuma.
The venerable City law firm, best known for its shipping work, was bought by listed practice Gordon Dadds on 31 December 2018 for £27m in a pre-pack sale after partners refused to bail it out. The AIM-listed firm is now known as the Ince Group.
The original Ince was made up of three LLPs: the London LLP, the international LLP and a services company LLP.
According to Quantuma’s latest update, the London LLP owes creditors £18.6m, and to date two claims have been received from nine unsecured creditors totalling £11.1m.
This includes a cross-guarantee claim from RBS of £6.3m and a professional indemnity claim of £3.5m, which is subject to settlement with insurers.
Quantuma has received two claims totalling £6.5m for the international LLP, which has estimated unsecured creditors of £13.1m, and 30 claims totalling £7.4m for the services LLP, which has estimated creditors of £7.5m.
In addition, the administrators have received 29 claims, totalling £15.5m, from current and former partners in relation to capital and current account balances, tax reserves and other amounts owed.
Ince Gordon Dadds Holdings LLP is claiming £3.2m in respect of repayments to the bank for partner capital loans that had been guaranteed by the London LLP.
Further, its former French arm, SCP Ince & Co France, has submitted claims for £1.5m for network fees, French partner capital and recharges, and the international and services LLPs have as-yet unquantified claims against the London LLP for intra-group balances.
Creditors of the London LLP are now estimated to receive 29p in the pound, 7.2p more than a year ago, and services LLP creditors 16p, up from just 3.5p last August. However, creditors of the international LLP look set to recoup just 1.3p in the pound.
Quantuma has so far incurred costs of £590,000 in handling the administration, and a further £832,000 in expenses, of which £276,000 has gone in legal fees to Pinsent Masons, plus another £198,000 for partner Samantha Palmer’s role at the London LLP’s solicitor manager, as required by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Earlier this month, the Ince Group unveiled turnover up 87% to £98.5m in the last financial year, reflecting the full impact of the acquisition of Ince & Co, and valued the brand at £17m.