Landmark year for Manchester law firm DWF

Andrew Leaitherland

Manchester law firm DWF said it produced a strong financial performance for the year, today, which it described as “landmark” after becoming the largest listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange

The firm saw revenues rise 15% to £272m, EBITDA jump 9% to £33.6m and adjusted pre-tax profits grow by 13% to £26.1m.

The reported pre-tax profits fell from £21.2m to £12.3m, while profit after tax of £12.2m compared with £21.1m.

This reduction was entirely related to the costs of the firm’s flotation process and the new shared based payment expense.

DWF reported growth across all four divisions, particularly strong in international and connected services.

Net debt reduced by £19m to £35.3m.

DWF said it is positioned for further growth, with the current financial year off to a good start.

The combination of complex, managed and connected services is driving efficiencies and gaining traction with clients.

It says it is well placed for targeted M&A and associations to drive the firm’s international reach and scale, while additions to its leading management team are driving the business.

There has been a net increase of 20 new partners in the reporting period.

Looking ahead, it said DWF is defensively positioned to perform through the cycle, and well positioned in countercyclical sectors.

Litigation is performing strongly as economic uncertainty and Brexit increases contract disputes, insurance claims and fraud.

Its growing international business is providing further geographical diversification, while it is well placed to capture a greater share of clients’ revenues with its combined complex, managed and connected services offering

Chief executive Andrew Leaitherland said: “These results mark the end of a milestone year for DWF, in which we became the largest listed full service legal business on the London Stock Exchange.

“I am pleased to report another strong period of revenue and profit growth for our maiden results post IPO, driven by an uplift across all four divisions, with international and connected services the standout performers.

“The group delivered 15% growth – 12.5% of which was on an underlying organic basis – emphasising the strength of our unique business model.”

He added: “We have made significant progress against strategy, taking meaningful strides towards our medium-term targets, and expect our diversified and differentiated business model to continue driving long-term sustainable growth.

“We are committed to recruiting and retaining leading industry talent which is underpinning our broadened service offering and revenue growth.

“Following a period of reduced M&A activity due to preparation for the IPO, we are maintaining discipline in identifying value-add acquisitions and associations to add scale, build on our sector expertise and develop our international presence.”

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