Charles Russell Speechlys’ net debt doubles in post-merger integration

Charles Russell Speechlys’ net debt more than doubled to £6.6m over 2014/15, LLP accounts have revealed.

The firm had a net debt of £6.6m at the end of its first full financial year as a merged firm, rising from £3m at the end of 2013/14.

The increase came as Charles Russell Speechlys spent £4.8m on tangible fixed assets, as opposed to £1.8m in the previous financial year. It has now completed the post-merger integration of its London premises, taking 33,000 sq ft of new space, which is understood to have contributed to the difference in cash flow.

Other results show the firm had a relatively stable year post-merger, with salary costs jumping 4 per cent from £43.6m to £45.3m and total staff costs rising from £49.8m to £51.9m.

The rise reflected an increase in total group staff numbers from 760 to 771. Fee-earner headcount jumped by 10 to 433, with administrative staff numbers rising by one to 338.

Charles Russell Speechlys’ highest-paid partner received £399,000 last year, dropping below the £400,000 mark from £407,000 in 2013/14.

The LLP accounts show revenue rose from £130.2m to £134.7m, a slight increase of 3.5 per cent. Meanwhile net profit fell slightly, from £38m to £37.4m.