Martineaus wins £1.7m from landlord

Midlands firm Martineau Johnson has received a £1.7m windfall from its Birmingham landlord following a breach of covenant.

The payoff comes after regional rival Cobbetts moved into the 193,000sq ft One Colmore Square office at the same time as Martineaus in September 2004, which was in breach of a contract struck between Martineaus and landlord Anglo-Irish Private Banking.

The contract stipulated that Martineaus would be the only law firm in the building.

The £1.7m is the firm’s second major payoff from Anglo-Irish in two years, having received an initial £2m rent-free period as a sweetener for making the office move.

The cash will be welcome news for partners, who have seen turnover inch up by just 0.5 per cent for the last financial year, hitting £19.3m after 2004-05’s £19.2m.

Average profit per equity partner (PEP) rose by 12.5 per cent in the same period, hitting £190,000 after 2004-05’s £180,000. But sources close to the firm claim that, without the rent-free periods, this year’s PEP would have been closer to £160,000.

Martineaus declined to comment.