Halliwells profit and turnover dips

MANCHESTER law firm Halliwells suffered a fall in turnover last year, with the average profit for each partner down by 12.5%.

The firm had a turnover of £87.5m for the year to the end of April 2008, compared with £88.3m in 2007, according to the latest documents filed at Companies House.

Profit available for its members fell to £23.47m from £25.86m a year earlier. But this was to be shared among 161 people, six more than last year, giving an average of £146,000 for each member.

The firm’s top earner will take £490,687 – a 20% cut on the £607,304 he took a year earlier.

Operating costs increased to £63.4m from £61.6m, with costs for 464 legal advisers and 596 administrative and support staff standing at £35.6m.

The amount owed to creditors increased again – to £25.57m from £23.47m but of that a massive £24.2m was due to fall before the end of April 2009, compared with less than £1m a year earlier.

£19.5m of the amount due in April was a bank loan. A note in the documents says that bank loan is now repayable in May 2011, and is secured by a debenture with interest payable at 1.75% above LIBOR.

Last month, TheBusinessDesk reported that Halliwells has entered this loan agreement in mid-December, giving the Royal Bank of Scotland security against all of the firm’s assets.

The fixed charge debenture covers all assets, including property, goodwill, fixture and fittings, rents receivable, stocks, shares and other securities, intellectual property, licences, claims and the benefits of any hedging arrangements.

The agreement significantly strengthens the bank’s position as a creditor, should the firm go into administration and gives it greater control over assets. It also gives the bank the power to appoint an administrator.

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