Bond Turner, the personal injury practice owned by listed business Anexo Group, has moved rapidly up the ranks of largest law firms with a 33% increase in turnover to £47m.
Anexo brings together legal services with credit hire and annual results published last week recorded revenue for 2021 up 36% to £118m, with profit before tax jumping 53% to £24m, significantly ahead of market expectations.
It told investors: “[Bond Turner] has continued its focus on cash collections and corresponding investment in staff to drive increased case settlements. This strategy has had a significant positive impact on financial performance.”
The pandemic and implementation of the Civil Liability Act 2021 led to some law firms exiting the market and others putting staff on furlough: “Taking advantage of these recruitment opportunities has resulted in staff numbers rising at all levels, with the ability to retrain personal injury solicitors in the field of credit hire for suitable placement within Bond Turner.”
Staff numbers at Bond Turner increased by 22% in 2021 to 634, of whom 237 were senior fee earners, up 46% on the end of 2020. It has offices in Bolton and Leeds.
Bond Turner started targeting housing disrepair claims too in late 2020 and spent £1.7m in marketing for new claims.
It secured around 2,000 new claims in 2021, settling a quarter of them in an average of 180 to 200 days, “significantly less” than the working capital cycle of an average credit hire claim.
“As such, and following the significant investment in staff in 2021, further recruitment is planned into 2022 to enhance performance and improve cash flow for the group as a whole.
The law firm also represents 13,000 claimants in the Volkswagen emissions case and said it was set to begin a £3m marketing campaign targeting owners of Mercedes Benz cars for similar litigation.
Anexo is paying a dividend of 1p per share, on top of the 0.5p interim dividend paid mid-year.
Barrister Alan Sellers, Anexo’s executive chairman, said: “The results demonstrate the resilience of the group’s business model, as we improved on last year’s cash collections, whilst still facing uncertainty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Opportunities within the credit hire division have never been so strong. As a result, the group has focused considerable resource here and has seen the number of new cases funded rise substantially.
“The board remains focused on long-term growth, and we are confident that there are significant opportunities that exist in 2022 to build upon our successful platform.”
The growth is being financed by an increase in facilities from Secure Trust Bank to £43m, alongside a £7.5m loan from Blazehill Capital Finance.
Anexo’s share price hit an all-time high of 150p in January but has since slipped back to 120p.