International firm Olswang saw profits and turnover fall in the final year before committing to a three-way merger, new figures reveal. Accounts filed this month with Companies House reveal profit before tax at the firm dropped 6% to £34.8m for the 2015/16 year ending 30 April.
During the same period, total turnover also dropped 11%, from £126m in 2014/15 to £112m last year.
Less than six months after the end of the financial year, Olswang had agreed to combine with fellow City firms CMS and Nabarro. The transaction is reputed to be the largest merger ever in the UK legal services market and will come into effect from 1 May. The new entity will trade internationally as CMS.
Accounts show Olswang had started to reduce its headcount in 2015/16: overall staff numbers fell from 616 to 543, with cuts made to both professional staff and secretarial and administrative staff. The wage bill came down from £36.7m in 2015 to £33.3m in 2016.
The monthly average number of members was 99 last year, compared with 113 a year previously.
Operations in the Berlin office were closed and disposed of in September 2015 following the decision to develop its Germany business through the Munich office. It was noted that these changes would reduce the firm’s revenues in the short term.
The total compensation paid to key management personnel for services provided to the group was £5.4m – down from £8.46m in 2015.
Group debt was reduced during the year, with creditors’ amounts due within one year falling from £30.4m to £26.7m.
The merged firm combining Olswang, CMS and Nabarro will be based in 36 countries across 65 offices, specialising in six sectors: energy, financial services, infrastructure and projects, life sciences and healthcare, real estate, and technology, media and telecommunications.