Eversheds pays off £20m in borrowings and boosts partner capital, accounts reveal

Eversheds paid off a £20m debt pile in its last trading year, according to publicly filed accounts that show the law firm continuing to manage its finances tightly.

Limited liability partnership accounts filed with Companies House for the 2011-12 year show that partnership borrowings were reduced from £20m to just £639,000. At the same time Eversheds reduced cash in hand and at the bank from £20.4m on May 2011 to £4.8m by the end of April 2012.

The debt reduction comes during a year in which the firm’s profits per equity partner climbed by almost 14% to £632,000 with the highest paid partner expected to receive £1.2m, up from £967,000 the previous year.

Capital contributions by partners also witnessed a significant increase, rising from £1.7m in 2010-11 to £5.4m in 2011-12. Eversheds financial director Kathryn Fleming said this higher level of contribution is due to an increase in the number of partners joining the equity and existing equity partners moving through its compensation bands.

The accounts confirm that UK fee income was up by almost 2% to £327.7m while the rest of Europe was down by 4% to £19.5m. However, the firm offset weak Continental trading with a sharp increase in the rest of its global network, where revenues were up by 49% from £12.6m to £18.8m.

Despite the number of non-partner staff decreasing by 3.2% from 2,548 to 2,468 over the year, wage costs increased by 3.3% from £146.6m to £151.5m while there was a large investment in computer and communications equipment during the 12-months with additions totalling £6.3m.

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