Legal Business Blogs

LLP latest: SJ Berwin, Squire Sanders and Irwin Mitchell file results

The last LLP filings of SJ Berwin in the financial year before its merger with King & Wood Mallesons reveal that the firm’s revenue in 2012/13 increased by 1.7% to £182.9m compared to the previous financial year which stood at £179.9m. Profits available to be shared among members dropped by 6% to £46.3m from £49.1m.

The firm released an unaudited turnover of £184.6m during the financial reporting season last summer, which was an increase of 2% from its previous reported revenue.

The highest-paid partner took home almost £834,000, a 10% drop on the previous financial year of £928,000.

Legacy SJ Berwin’s global footprint is also broken down in the filling, with continental Europe making up for 31% of the firm’s revenue at £56.7m. The Middle East and Asia made up for a combined £2.6% of the overall turnover, with £3.6m and £1m respectively. The regions combined grew by 3.5% compared to the previous year.

The firm’s partnership grew by 4.5% to an average member count of 162, while the number of fee-earners increased by 22 to 446. The firm also reduced the number of support staff by ten down to 439, although the wage bill increased by 2.7% to £62.1m.

The firm’s headline-grabbing merger with King & Wood Mallesons went live in November last year, although under the rules of the tie-up, structured as a verein, the firm will continue with four separate partnerships – China, Hong Kong, Australia and Europe – all with separate profit pools.

Elsewhere, Squire Sanders’ turnover for its UK LLP including European outposts in Spain, Belgium and Germany fell from £123m to £111m in 2012/13, as the top 15 LBGlobal 100 firm also saw its profit drop, according to accounts filed with Companies House yesterday (3 February).

Within the LLP the UK was by far the greatest contributor of revenue, generating £101m in 2012/13, compared with £10m from Continental Europe.

Operating profit for the Squire Sanders group, which in addition to the UK LLP businesses includes various pension trustee service subsidiaries in England and Wales, Paris arm Haussman Associés, and Squire Sanders MENA LLP, which launched in the Middle East in September 2012, dropped to £33.5m from £36.6m in 2011/12, with the profit available for discretionary division among members down from £34.8m to £32m.

The largest profit entitlement in 2012/13 was £627,226, down from £700,737 the year before.

Total number of partners in the LLP dipped too over the same period from 148 to 136, although the number of equity partners increased slightly from 49 to 52, while staff numbers dropped 7% from 1,017 at the end of 2012 to 949 last year.

Net debt increased by almost 35% from just short of £7m to £9.3m at the end of 2012/13 as the firm increased its bank overdrafts by 16% from £13.6m to almost £16m.

Globally, the Squire Sanders group, which includes its operations in the US and Australia, saw a 6% boost in revenues from £462.5m to £488m at the end of 2013, while average profit per equity partner (PEP) was up 2% from £500,000 to £510,000.

Meanwhile, Irwin Mitchell’s LLP accounts revealed a moderate upturn, with turnover up around 3% from £187m to £192m.

Profit available for discretionary division among members remained static at around £24m, with the average number of equity partners having jumped by 54% from 63 at the end of the 2011/12 financial year to 97.

Debt at the firm rose almost 25% from £13.7m to £17m at the end of last year while cash at bank and in hand rose from £1.5m to £2.7m in the same period.