Legal Business Blogs

Bird & Bird’s net debt rises by a fifth, as highest paid member gets 12% more

Bird & Bird‘s net debt rose by 21% in the last financial year to €46.3m from €38.3m in 2014 following a refinancing of the business, while the top paid member took home 12% more, the firm’s accounts show.

Recent filings with Companies House show the highest paid member at the firm took home €1.023m, up 12% from last year’s €911,000. This figure in LLP accounts does not necessarily equate to the highest paid equity partner and can relate to ‘golden handshakes’ to retiring members.

Net current assets increased by just over 100% following a ‘successful refinancing’ in November 2014 and a 9% ‘improvement’ in net assets attributable to members.

Loans and other debts due to members jumped by 8% to €71.7m from €66m while staff costs increased to €147.8m from €141.5m. The firm’s working capital facilities were restructured in November 2014 to an unsecured revolving credit facility which is committed to November 2017.

Revenue rose 6% to €327.1m from €308.7m while profit before member’s remuneration increased by 10% to €93m from €85m.

The firm, which reports in Euros, noted the weakening of the currency by just under 6% against a basket of our major trading currencies and said its main financial risks arise from the ‘current economic climate in the countries it operates, competitive and client pressure to reduce fees and the management of foreign currencies.’

The number of fee earners at the consolidated firm increased to 935 from 926, as total staff numbers rose from 1,732 to 1,759.

The firm made expansion a strategic priority last year in a bid to reposition itself internationally, and established an Australian practice by merging with Sydney-based Truman Hoyle, and signed co-operation agreements with three foreign firms. This included two Indonesian firms, intellectual property specialists K&K Advocates and business law firm Nurjadin Sumono Mulyadi & Partners, and Turkish IT and telecoms boutique BTS & Partners in June.

Bird & Bird plans to move its London office to a 147,000 sqft space at 12 New Fetter Lane next autumn, committing to a pre-let that will see it pay £8.28m a year for the premise. The agreement, which weighs in at £58.11 per sqft, makes the annual cost of the property worth 38% of Bird & Bird’s current leasehold expenditure globally. In 2013/14 the firm paid £21.5m in rent.