Listing law firms was an exciting – and profitable – game for some time but the pandemic has seen millions of pounds disappear from the value of the UK listed firms, according to recent research.
The Law Gazette reports that Like-for-like comparisons to six months ago – when coronavirus was on the eve of locking down the UK – shows that five of the most prominent public firms have lost between 12 and 55 per cent of their market value.
The biggest drop came from DWF, which showed a drop in market capitalisation from £427 million six months ago to £191 million. DWF has gone through a management overhaul and redundancy consultation in the past six months.
However against the trend Knights plc increased its market cap by 22 per cent with shares bouncing back rapidly from the immediate hit in March and April. The company is now worth £384 million, an increase of over 20 per cent on the February price.
Shares in Gateley, Keystone, Ince, Rosenblatt and DWF are all lower than they were at the start of March. Some had already dropped in the midst of international disruption, but in almost all cases they plummeted in March before stabilising and starting to recover over the summer.
According to the London Stock Exchange’s latest market cap figures, Gateley’s value is down 20k per cent to £160 million, Keystone is down 14 per cent to £138 million, Ince has dropped 39% per cent to £16.59 million, and Rosenblatt is down 12.5 per cent to £63 million.
Mike Allen, head of research at Zeus Capital, which advises on flotations, said it was difficult to compare listed law firms because of the varied nature of their models, but most have been resilient and may even be able to save costs through more home working.
‘We have not had any profit warnings due to Covid although it has probably caused a bit of pressure in commercial real estate and exposure to that,’ he said. ‘We have economic uncertainty at the moment but I would still expect some legal businesses to join the market in the coming years.’
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