Legal business DWF delivers 'solid' performance despite pandemic

Sir Nigel KnowlesSir Nigel Knowles
Sir Nigel Knowles
The legal business DWF today revealed that the pandemic had hit its profits over the last quarter of the financial year, although the new year had started strongly.

DWF, which has an office in Leeds, has published its full year results and first quarter trading update.

Over the year, there was a 10.9 per cent increase in group revenue from £268.1m to £297.2m, despite significant impact from COVID-19 in the final quarter of the year.

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The underlying adjusted EBITDA (pre-IFRS 16) was £21.8m, a decrease of 21.6 per cent on the previous year. However, the firm said it had achieved strong trading for the first three months of this financial year.

The group disposed, closed or reduced the scale of its operations in Cologne, Dubai, Singapore and Brussels with further measures taken after the year-end to rationalise underperforming units.

Sir Nigel Knowles, the group chief executive officer commented: "Trading through the majority of FY20 was strong and the group made significant investments to support its growth objectives.

"The sudden and far reaching impact of COVID-19 had a material effect on the final quarter with a resulting impact on profitability.

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"Despite this, we delivered a solid performance with overall revenue growth of 10.9% and organic growth of 2.0%. While we achieved record group revenue, with an organic growth rate that compares to other global law firms in FY20, it was lower than expected.

Sir Nigel added: "The strength and resilience of the group and our differentiated model has been evident in the first three months of FY21. We have seen strong activity levels generating positive momentum across the business resulting in revenue and EBITDA being materially ahead of the prior year.

"We have also taken decisive action focused on consolidating our existing operations to increase profitability, delivering cost efficiencies and improving lock-up and cash generation. Measures to scale-up Managed Services and optimise the International division will position DWF well for FY21 and beyond.

"Having spoken with many of our stakeholders, I am very pleased that our new focus has such strong support and remain positive about DWF’s future prospects."

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