Significantly increased debt has been a recurring theme for many of the latest limited liability partnership (LLP) accounts filed at Companies House and Herbert Smith Freehills is no exception, with its overdraft up over 140% from £26m to £62.7m and total bank borrowing up by 28% to £110.7m.
In the first accounts filed since Herbert Smith’s June 2012 merger with Australia’s Freehills, the global LLP accounts reveal that revenue is slightly down on last summer’s unaudited figure of £471.2m, standing at £469m. The accounts, which do not include the Australian side of the business, further show a LLP cash position of £29m.
Meanwhile, the highest paid member this year received £2m, compared to £1.6m the previous year.
The accounts, signed off by senior partner Jonathan Scott and outgoing chief executive officers (CEO) David Willis and Gavin Bell state: ‘Transactional activities in the UK and Europe remained muted between October 2012 and April 2013, while we also faced challenging conditions in Asia and Australia.’
They make reference to the cash call that legacy Herbert Smith equity partners had to make in May last year to bring its finances in line with Freehills, worth around £20m.
Other firms to have filed their 2012/13 LLP accounts at Companies House include Berwin Leighton Paisner, which saw a 221% increase in bank borrowing in the 2012/13 financial year.
The 790-lawyer firm’s borrowing has risen to £45m from £14m the previous year.