Metamorph bids to ward off winding-up petition for four of its firms

Stockdale: Petition was a shock

Four of the law firms owned by consolidator Metamorph Law have been served with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), but the group has expressed confidence in a successful outcome.

MLL Ltd owns Linder Myers – Metamorph’s first acquisition in 2016 – SLC Solicitors, bought in 2017, and 2019 acquisition Verisona Law, which had just bought Donnelly &Elliott.

Metamorph owns MLL and has 14 brands in total across the country. MLL’s accounts for 2020/21 are three and a half months overdue, according to Companies House.

Its most recently filed accounts, for the 18 months to 30 June 2020, showed a £2.1m loss on a turnover of £16.4m. The group had 311 employees.

It said the directors believed MLL had the resources needed to continue as a going concern but that they had in any case received a letter of support from Metamorph Group confirming its intention to continue to provide support for at least another year.

“Even though the directors seen no need to utilise this line of support, it does provide an extra level of security for the company.”

HMRC does not comment on specific businesses due to strict confidentiality rules, but a spokesman said: “We take a supportive approach to dealing with customers who have tax debts and only file winding-up petitions once we’ve exhausted all other options, in order to protect taxpayers’ money.”

A Metamorph spokesman said: “We are working hard and in collaboration with HMRC to resolve any outstanding matters in relation to our company MLL. The board is very confident the matter will be resolved with no interruption to client service.

“The plans that we are working through will ensure that our clients’ interests are protected at all times, which is and always will be, our paramount concern.”

Metamorph chairman Tony Stockdale added that he was “very confident of a successful outcome” with HMRC.

“In addition, we have a supportive group of shareholders and management team who remain committed to our strategy.

“That said, the action of HMRC was a shock to everyone. As a result, we will be making a number of changes in the business to avoid a repetition.”

Metamorph has not made an acquisition for over a year, when it bought QualitySolicitors. Earlier this year, RJW Legal, a new law firm made up of the Manchester-based criminal law team of Slater & Gordon, joined the group.

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