Legal Business Blogs

More investment planned as DWF notes profit fall and borrowings rise in annual review

Profit at top-25 firm DWF fell 7% for the year ending 30 April 2015 from £50.4m to £46.7m, which the firm has attributed to a ‘focus on the integration of our people as well as consolidation following our mergers and acquisitions’.

DWF’s annual review, published yesterday (24 November) also revealed that the number of full-time employees across the firm’s 13 locations fell by almost 200, from 2,350 to 2,160 as a result of a ‘careful balance of natural attrition and modest restructurings’.

In addition, borrowings at the firm rose steeply, from £13m in 2014 to £32m in 2015, including £21.3m in bank loans and a £10.8m overdraft. Noting ‘improved visibility and strong recurring cash flow’ in its financial statements, the firm said it was ‘able to put in place a revolving credit facility committed to July 2018 and two overdrafts, which are due for renewal annually’.

DWF’s financials, first revealed in August revealed a second year of stagnant growth for the firm, with a 1% rise in revenue from £189m to £191m, while profits per equity (PEP) fell steeply, down 16% to £325,000.

However, in the annual report, managing partner and chief executive officer Andrew Leaitherland (pictured) hinted at further investment internationally for 2016. The firm currently has one international office located in Dubai, which it launched in March this year with a team of four-lawyers, including a construction partner hired from Holland & Knight.

Leaitherland said: ‘Our move into Dubai has been successful and supported our international push, building on our infrastructure work. We will selectively open more offices and remain client-led. If a client provides the opportunity, allowing us to de-risk the move, we will consider it.’