Legal Business Blogs

Accounts: NRF shows 4% profit bump as borrowings fall while Fieldfisher’s profit slides

Norton Rose Fulbright’s UK registered limited liability partnership (LLP) has recorded a near 4% increase in profit for the 2013/14 financial year alongside a 6.3% reduction in total borrowings while Fieldfisher’s net debt nearly doubled as the firm saw its profits decline.

Operating profit at the LLP, which covers UK, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Brazil, rose to £111m from £106.9m while turnover picked up 6% to £392m from £368m.

Borrowings were cut to £51.5m from £55m as loans repayable within one year dropping by nearly 90% to £1.6m from £16m with the burden shifted to those due between two and five years which increased from £33.6m to £45.6m. This saw the firm eliminate its net debt which was £7.5m in 2013, to post a surplus in 2014 of £5.0m.

Staff costs increased to £177m from £166m as the average number of fee earners rose to 1,068 from 1,028 leading to wages and salaries increasing to £160m from £150m. The share of profit allocated since the end of year to the member with the largest entitlement to profits stood at £1.27m compared to £1.21m in 2013.

Meanwhile, Fieldfisher suffered a different fortune with the firm increasing its borrowings while operating profit fell by 8.2%. The firm did see a rise in turnover of 5.2% from £96.7m to £101.6m, but that was outstripped by an £8.1m increase in operating expenses from £64.5m to £72.6m.

Operating profit dropped from £33.4m to £30.6m with the firm’s largest increase in costs falling under other operating charges which rose from £31.1m to £38.2m. The accounts include Fieldfisher’s cancellation of it property leases as it moved to Riverbank House.

Meanwhile, staffing costs remained broadly flat at £32.2m as, although the number of fee earners increased from 245 to 253, support staff fell by 7 people to 280. The average number of members also remained stable, dipping from 129 to 127, however the highest remuneration for a member fell from £625,000 to £620,000.

The firm’s net debt nearly doubled jumping from £5.3m to £10.2m as cash at bank and in hand fell and the firm’s bank overdraft increased from £7.6m in 2013 to £11.5m in 2014.

Other recent filings at Companies House includes King & Wood Mallesons LLP which revealed the firm’s UK office saw a 10.7% fall in turnover in the year to 30 April 2014, while Hogan Lovells recorded a 3.9% revenue boost in its International LLP from £581m to £604m.