Legal Business Blogs

LLP latest: DLA Piper’s net debt down 32% as RPC posts 21% increase in fee income

DLA Piper International’s net debt decreased by 32% while cash in the bank dropped almost 15% according to its most recent limited liability partnership (LLP) filed at Companies House.

Net debt was down from £47.5m at the end of 2011/12 to £32.4m at the end of last financial year, with the 4036-lawyer firm’s cash position also down from £35m to £29.9m.

Turnover at DLA Piper International – which includes all the firm’s activities outside the US including its share of joint ventures – increased from £788m in 2011/12 to £800.4m in the last financial period, while profit available for discretionary allocation among members dropped almost 3% from £269m to £261.5m during that period.

The UK, meanwhile, saw revenue decrease by 3.4% from £287.3m to £277.5m, while operating profit also fell 7.5% from £102.9m to £95.2m at the end of 2012/13.

However, both Continental Europe and the Asia Pacific saw turnover increase by around 4% to £290.1m and £210.2m respectively. Operating profit in Continental Europe grew 2.7% from £107m to £110m but in Asia Pacific it fell by 9.4% from £65.7m to £59.5m.

The biggest boost came from activities in the Middle East, where turnover increased 15.5% from £18.8m in 2011/12 to £21.7m in 2012/13, while operating profit was up from £158,000 to £2.8m in the same period.

DLA’s move to an all-equity partnership on 1 May 2012 resulted in a boost in member’s capital of £27.6m during the year, although 29 members internationally elected to remain as non-equity partners, eight of which were in the UK.

The highest paid partner received £1.8m in 2012/13, 3.3% more than the previous year.

Elsewhere, RPC posted an above average 21% increase in fee income from £67.4m to £81.7m. Costs including non-member partner profit shares rose 27%, which, the top 50 firm said, reflect significant one-off costs associated with setting up two new offices.

Profits available to members increased during the year by 8% to £26m while staff costs increased by 21% to £36.2m from £28.5m in the 2011/12 financial year.

At 30 April, the firm’s net debt stood at just over £5m – a 123% increase compared to £2.3m the previous year, while bank loans of £4.8m (£3m in 2012) are repayable by equal monthly instalments until 2017 and a further bank loan of £833,333 (£412,905 in 2012) was due for repayment in October 2013.

The estimated profit attributable to the highest paid member stood at £928,018 compared to £789,282 the previous year. The average monthly number of fee earners rose from 196 to 252 at the firm, which has invested solidly in lateral hires over the last year, including Davenport Lyons former head of banking and finance Sukh Ahark, former SJ Berwin corporate partner Anthony Shatz, and Wragge & Co former managing partner and corporate head respectively, Richard Haywood and Maurice Dwyer.