SNR Denton headcount drop leads to profit rise in tough year

Average staff numbers at SNR Denton’s UK LLP were down almost 10 per cent in 2011/12, as costs dropped and pre-tax profit rose nearly 40 per cent.

According to the firm’s LLP accounts, the average number of employees at SNR Denton’s UK LLP – which includes its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations – throughout the 2011/12 financial year was 994, down 9.1 per cent on the previous year when it was 1,094.

Within that figure, fee-earner numbers were down from 517 to 471, while support staff numbers fell from 577 to 523. As a result, staff costs for the 2011-12 financial year were £75.7m, down from £82.8m in 2010/11.

Separately, partner numbers at the firm were also down throughout 2011/12, from 126 to 118. According to the accounts, the highest paid partner for the 2011/12 financial year received £683,000, down from £755,000 the previous year. This figure can include retirement payments, however.

In 2011/12, SNR Denton’s UK LLP also appeared to reduce its debt, with bank loans and overdrafts dipping from £22.8m to £13.2m.

The cost cutting meant that SNR Denton’s profit before tax rose 39.6 per cent, from £22.5m to £31.4m in 2011/12. The increase was in spite of a difficult trading year. In the accounts, management state that “transactional activity was low” throughout the 2011/12 financial year, with revenue down 5 per cent, from £144.8m to £152.4m.

The Lawyer reported in June 2012 that net profit at SNR Denton’s UK LLP had risen from £19.8m to £28m, while average profit per equity partner rose from £232,000 to £350,000 (19 June 2012).

In late 2012, SNR Denton agreed a three-way merger with European firm Salans and Canada’s Fraser Milner Casgrain. The firm will be known as Dentons and have no official geographical headquarters (28 November 2012).