Irwin Mitchell takes out £60m bank loan to fund growth strategy

Irwin Mitchell has secured a four-year, £60m bank loan with three major UK banks to fund its strategic growth plan.

The loan, which also includes a £30m ‘accordion’ option facility for further capital, was underwritten by HSBC, Lloyds Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland, and hailed by the firm as a vote of confidence in its business plan.

“The fact that we have been able to agree this facility with our banks at a time when the legal sector faces some real challenges demonstrates the strength of our business financially,” commented group chief executive John Pickering.

The loan follows a period of rapid growth for Irwin Mitchell, including the recruitment of more than 30 partner-level positions in the last 18 months.

Last April, the firm also hired chief financial officer Andrew Merrick from airline and logistics firm Dart Group.

In 2012/13, the Irwin Mitchell group – which includes subsidiary practices and businesses tacked on after the firm secured a multiple alternative business structure license – saw revenue pass the £200m mark for the first time.

Pickering added: “We have a clear plan in place to build on the impressive growth we have delivered in recent years. Passing the £200m mark was a real milestone for us but our plans are to grow the business much more significantly in all the areas we operate in.”

Pickering said the finance package’s £30m accordion facility would be used “only if a substantial opportunity arises”. In the last two years, the firm has completed five acquisitions, including the purchase of Manchester-based HL Interactive and professional injury firm MPH last November.

“Having integrated the majority of its recent acquisitions, Irwin Mitchell is in a strong position to fulfil its growth potential in the coming years,” said Lloyds Bank’s Adam Barraclough. “This deal reinforces our belief in the management team’s strategy and vision for the firm.”

“RBS has supported Irwin Mitchell over a number of years,” added RBS relationship director Martin Kelly. “We remain firmly of the view that they will continue to succeed in the fast-changing UK legal services sector and are delighted to back them in their plans for further growth.”