DLA Piper International revenue down 3 per cent in 2014/15

DLA Piper’s non-US operations saw a 3 per cent drop in revenue last year, the firm’s audited International LLP accounts have shown.

The accounts reported a drop in turnover from £787.6m in 2013/14 to £765.7m last year. Profitability also dipped by 2.2 per cent, from £276.9m to £270.7m.

However the amount of profit due to the highest-paid LLP member rose by 8.6 per cent, from £1.8m in 2013/14 to £1.96m last year.

DLA Piper International LLP covers the firm’s operations in the UK, Continental Europe, the Middle East, Australia and Asia-Pacific.

The greatest regional fall in revenue came from Australia, where turnover fell 8.5 per cent from £101.4m in 2013/14 to £92.7m last year. Turnover in Continental Europe was also down significantly, from £307.3m to £289.9m, a fall of almost 6 per cent.

A number of firms previously reported a drop in turnover from Australia and Europe last year due to the weakness of the regions’ currencies compared to sterling.

The accounts showed that revenue from the Middle East increased by 14.3 per cent, from £23.7m to £27.1m. Asian revenues rose by 1.7 per cent, from £72.3m to £73.6m.

DLA’s UK turnover was essentially flat at just under £282m in 2014/15 with profitability also flat at £109.9m. The firm saw profitability fall 12 per cent in Europe but other regions improved their profit figures.

Employee headcount for the International LLP dropped to 4,926 from 5,071 in 2013/14, a fall of 3 per cent. Staff costs fell by just over 4 per cent, from £276.5m to £265.1m.

The total number of partners dropped by 4.5 per cent, from 714 in 2013/14 to 682 last year.

A substantial reduction in bank borrowings between 2013/14 and 2014/15 meant that DLA Piper International eliminated its net debt last year. The firm began the financial year with net debt of £18.2m but ended it with £269,000 cash in the bank.

The firm’s overdraft fell from £33m to £26.5m, while bank borrowings dropped by more than 50 per cent to £7.4m from £17.1m the previous year.

DLA Piper reports global consolidated revenue on a calendar year basis. In 2014, the most recent year for which figures are available, turnover held steady at $2.48bn (£1.626bn). However, the firm’s global net profit rocketed to a record high in 2014, growing by 10.8 per cent from $602m to $667m.