Co-op undeterred despite £3.4m loss by legal services business


Co-op: legal services investment on track

Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) has revealed losses of £3.4m for the first half of 2013, which its parent group said reflected “the start-up nature of the business”.

But The Co-operative Group affirmed its intention to “continue with our plans to develop this growing business”.

The loss compares to a profit of £700,000 in the same period last year; the full 2012 results recorded a profit of just £26,000.

At the same time, the alternative business structure’s revenue was up 5.8% from £17.1m to £18.1m for the six months.

Releasing its half-year results, the Co-op said investment in CLS “continues in line with plan”, explaining: “Our legal services business continues to grow across its key strategic consumer law practices… Our recent success has been driven by probate revenue outperforming expectations and the award of legal aid contracts in family law, which has provided the business with the opportunity to contact more than 1,500 legal aid clients since April 2013.

“During June, a regionalised brand launch was arranged and initial results show increases in awareness.”

It also announced that CLS, along with its banking group and funerals business will be run as stand-alone businesses under the wider Co-operative Group. CLS focuses on six areas of law: family, will writing, probate, conveyancing, personal injury and employment.

The wider group was badly hit by the well-documented problems with its bank, which recorded losses of £709m, against a profit of £150m for the Co-op’s other businesses, meaning an overall loss in the first half of 2013 of £559m, compared to an £18m profit in the same period of 2012. Revenues across the group fell 1% to £5.8bn.

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