Shulmans rebounds from slump with revenue hike to £7.8m

Leeds-based Shulmans has posted its 2012-13 financial results which show a continued rebound from a significant drop in revenue three years ago.

The firm’s revenue last year was £7.8m, up 14.7 per cent from £6.8m in 2011-12. Provisional profits rose by 24.8 per cent while average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose by 10.6 per cent. Shulmans, which has 17 partners, 12 of which are equity, did not disclose the amount of either total profit or PEP.

Shulmans managing partner Tim Halstead said the solid results were partly due to the ongoing effects of a five-year plan put in place three years ago which was aimed at growing the business by 50 per cent during the period of the plan.

“Our revenue had dropped to £5.2m from £7.5m around 2008/09 so this is a rebuild,” admitted Halstead. “Headcount also dropped from 135 to 90 back then. It’s now back up to 120, so we’ve now taken turnover to beyond where it was with fewer people and we’re ahead of budget.”

Halstead said Shulmans was preparing for a move to new premises in Leeds when the lease on its current space expires next year. Shulmans has taken a 15-year lease on the first and second floor of a new-build, grade A office. Halstead said the increased cost to the firm was £80,000 per annum, or 1 per cent of turnover a year.

“We’re absolutely confident 1 per cent is not a big risk, given it’s just gone up by 50 per cent in three years,” said Halstead. “We know the risks with a property move and we don’t take them lightly.”

Halstead pointed to investments in corporate finance and real estate as key parts of the practice mix. In November 2011 the firm hired corporate partner Marcus Armstrong from Lupton Fawcett. The firm later followed this hire with that of Lee & Priestley partner Christian Peace, a healthcare acquisitions specialist who joined Shulmans at the time of his firm’s merger with Lupton Fawcett in October 2012 to form Lupton Fawcett Lee & Priestley (12 September).

Other hires include real estate specialists Dawn Carlisle and John Foster, both of who worked together at Gordons and who specialise in overseas investment in UK property deals.

Internally Shulmans has reorganised its governance structure. Jeremy Shulman has become senior partner and will now focus on an ambassadorial role as well as fee earning in the areas of employment and corporate finance.

Halstead has assumed overall responsibility for management of the firm while head of residential development Rosemary Edwards and head of commercial property Simon Jackson have joined the management board. Armstrong has become head of the corporate and commercial team, a position vacated by Edwards, while employment specialist Lee Stephens has been made partner.