Ashurst‘s first post-merger limited liability partnership (LLP) accounts show the firm’s operating profit increased 10.5% from £193.8m to £214.2m for the financial year ending 30 April 2014 as it contained staff costs and increased turnover.
Filed with Companies House, the LLP accounts are the first since its merger with Blake Dawson in November 2013, following the big six Australian firm’s rebranding as Ashurst Australia in March 2012. The increased operating profit resulted in a 10.8% increase in the profit available for division among members, with it rising from £183.5m to £203.2m.
Turnover at the combined firm was up 2% from £569.7m to £582.4m with the rise in profit coming as operating costs at the firm were cut 2.4% from £380.4m to £371.1m. Staff costs fell by 1.7% with savings on wages coming in at 2.7%. Other operating costs came down by 4%.
The slimming down of staffing expenditure came as the number of legal and support staff heads increased by eight across the year from 2,890 and 2,898, while the average number of partners grew by one 355. However, the highest earning member took home £1.1m – 16% higher than in the previous financial year when the highest profit share’s value was £977,000.
The firm considerably improved its cash at bank and in hand balance, with it shooting up 96% – doubling from £15.5m to £30.4m. As such, the firm’s saw a rise in its current assets from just under £346m to £351m on its consolidated balance sheet. Net funds also grew to £3.2m at the end of the last financial year, after debt totalled £13.9m at its beginning. In comparison, at the start of the financial year ending April 2013, funds totalled £15.9m.