Halliwells faces administration after a merger deal

Mon, 28 Jun 2010

Manchester legal firm Halliwells is one of the first legal outfits to face administration. Last week, it filed a bid to hire an administrator at the courts.

Halliwells is also in negotiations with peer Hill Dickinson to transfer a large chunk of its Manchester-based business. The troubled firm is expected to enter administration once the merger deal takes place.

BDO has been lined up to act as administrator to the business, which has about 700 employees at its head office. It is predicted that redundancies amongst support staff and junior lawyers may occur once the two companies have merged.

The legal entity owes the Royal Bank of Scotland, its biggest creditor, a figure close to £20 million.

The firm has suffered partner walkouts over the past two years, and has made redundancies mainly in its property department. A dive in profits has been blamed on the current recessionary environment, and high property costs. Halliwells says that its core business is still strong, however.

An insider said, “Halliwells is still a good business but for the high cost of its premises. Whoever takes them over will add significantly to their bottom line profit and a huge amount of expertise to their existing operations.”

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