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Cyber attack and Ukraine invasion blamed as Ince sees revenue slump 3%

Ince has chalked up a 3% dip in revenues from £100.2m to £97m to a March cyber attack, the war in Ukraine and various other extraneous factors.

It is a significant slowdown for Ince, after posting an eye-catching 87% uptick in turnover in 2020 and 4% growth in 2021.

According to a statement yesterday (23 May), Ince was subject to a cyber attack on 13 March 2022 that predominantly targeted ‘non-client data and our own internal systems’. While Ince said the systems were now ‘substantially’ restored to pre-attack capabilities and that relevant costs will be mostly covered by insurance, ‘the operating conditions have been difficult’.

The attack was particularly disruptive as it occurred ‘mid-way through IT system migrations in Asia’, the firm said.

Ince also partly attributed the downturn to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which it claims has affected global shipping, ‘a key market for us’. Further, Covid-19 was highlighted as a major factor, ‘impacting the UK market from the end of November 2021’ as well as the firm’s offices in China.

The results underline a troubled year for Ince. A £10m buyout of mid-cap investment banking company Arden Partners was stalled by regulatory constraints, with the process dragged out for an additional three months between January and April this year. Ince has also recently attracted unwanted press after a group of its lawyers were accused of acting inappropriately in a Cardiff restaurant .

Ince chief executive Adrian Biles said: ‘The final quarter of the 2021/22 financial year presented a number of challenges. It had been the board’s intention to complete the Arden acquisition prior to the end of January 2022 but due to regulatory matters this was delayed until after the March 2022 balance sheet date. The UK’s Covid-19 lockdown in December 2021 and January 2022 also had a negative effect on financial performance, as did similar issues in Asia, and on top of this, the group was extremely unfortunate in being victim to a cyber attack in March.

‘The hurdles and timetable that were applied to the Arden acquisition caused much frustration. Now completed, we can move forward to pursue our vision and continue to grow our global multi-talented professional services group.’

Due to the disruption the firm outlined, Ince expects its full audited accounts are ‘unlikely to be published before September’.