How law firm DWF became largest listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange

Andrew Leaitherland, group chief executive officer of DWF
Andrew Leaitherland, group chief executive officer of DWF
0
Have your say

DWF today said it had enjoyed a landmark year in which it became the largest listed legal business on the London Stock Exchange.

Read more:

The best paid legal jobs in Yorkshire

The five Yorkshire business stories you must read today

The law firm, which has an office in Leeds, said it had recorded a strong financial performance in its latest full year results and is identifying acquisitions that might add value.

The company’s revenue increased by 15 per cent to £272m while EBITDA rose by 9 per cent to £33.6m.

DWF’s adjusted PBT (profit before tax) was up 13 per cent to £26.1m.

DWF said it had enjoyed growth across all four divisions, with a particularly strong performance in international and connected services.

The firm’s net debt was also down by £19m to £35.3m.

DWF said the latest financial year had got off to a good start. It has recently secured a significant new five-year BT contract within the managed services platform. The firm said it was also well-placed for targeted M&A (mergers and acquisitions) and associations to drive its international reach and scale.

DWF said its litigation team was “performing strongly “as economic uncertainty and Brexit is leading to an increase in contract disputes, insurance claims and fraud.

The firm said it was also “defensively positioned” to perform through the cycle and well-positioned in countercyclical sectors

Andrew Leaitherland, group chief executive officer, commented: “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 (initial public offering), driven by an uplift across all four divisions, with international and connected services the standout performers.

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

“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.

He added: “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.”

Chris Stefani, the chief financial officer, said: “We have continued to invest in partners and fee earners and have a platform that is unique amongst our peers from which to drive future revenues.

“Working capital and net debt is being and will continue to be tightly managed with more opportunity to self-fund as gross lock-up days are driven down.”

He added: “Looking forward, we will continue to carefully consider inorganic growth opportunities and apply the same level of discipline as we have in the past, while looking for opportunities that are culturally and sector aligned.”

Earlier this year, DWF’s corporate team advised the shareholders of William Martin Compliance Solutions on its sale to support services group Marlowe for an implied total enterprise value of £30m.