Ashurst had almost £45m in the bank at the end of the 2007-08 financial year, with the balance increasing by around 40 per cent from the previous year.
The figures were revealed in the firm’s first published LLP accounts and, according to Ashurst’s financial director Nigel Morland, reveal a picture of conservative financial management.
Morland said: “Historically we’ve always had a conservative approach to cash and a natural reluctance to borrow. In the current climate that’s proving to be helpful.”
The £44.6m cash balance Ashurst had on its accounts at the end of the 2007-08 financial year is in marked contrast to the sum held by several other silver circle rivals with published LLP accounts.
Ashurst’s cash at bank increased by £13m compared to the 2006/07 financial year. Morland explained that this was due to increased billing at the year end and record profits, meaning that a larger amount of cash would have to be held in a tax reserve.
The taxes paid by the LLP, as opposed by the individual partners, more than doubled in 2007-08 from £2.9m to £7.1m.
Morland explained: “Obviously the tax structure is always changing as the percentage of business outside of the UK increases.”
Ashurst’s LLP accounts also reveal that the firm invested more than £7m in its tangible fixed assets in the 2007-08 financial year, which included roughly £3m of leasehold improvements and a £3m investment in computer equipment.
In the 2007-08 financial year Ashurst enjoyed record profitability, with average profits per equity partner rising 9 per cent to exceed £1m for the first time (TheLawyer.com, 7 July 2008