Co-op Legal Services has posted a first-half profit, the group revealed today in its interim results, continuing its steady recovery over the last two years.
The legal arm posted a profit of £600,000 for the six months to 2 July, compared with a £200,000 loss in the same period in 2015. Underlying operating profit was £1m, the firm said.
Revenue from legal services rose 10% to £11m in the first half of 2016 – although this is still lower than during the same period in 2014, when the company was reported to be struggling.
This year’s figures include income from Sheffield-based Collective Legal Solutions, which was acquired at the end of last year and brought on board more than 100 associates and support staff.
This acquisition increased the company’s involvement in estate planning, wills, lasting powers of attorney, trust and probate: estate planning sales now form 18% of the business, compared to 3% last year.
CLS said its probate and estate administration business has grown 6% compared to last year, with profit ‘in line with expectations’.
It is building an ‘advanced solution’ for the probate and estate administration business to simplify taking customer instructions and to speed up cases.
The interim report added: ‘During the second half of 2016 we’ll continue to focus on growing estate planning, probate and estate administration while providing our members with access to legal services support.
‘We will continue to invest in improving our customer services and improving our customer satisfaction as we continue to use technology to improve processes and services.’
Overall, the Co-op Group reported what it called a ‘planned’ reduction in profit driven by an investment in rebuilding the business.
Profit before tax was £17m in the first six months of 2016, compared with £36m in the same period last year.