Wragges reveals one-off £10.5m cost of delayed office move

WRAGGE & CO’S managing partner Ian Metcalfe said the firm has set aside the £10.5m in an accounting provision relating to the firm’s forthcoming move into new Birmingham headquarters in 2014, reports sister publication Legal Week.

The law firm, which will take on around seven floors in Two Snowhill, had initially intended to move into the building in 2011; however construction was delayed due to the recession.

Metcalfe (pictured) said: “It’s an unfortunate accounting requirement related to future costs rather than current costs,” he said. “It’s hugely frustrating from our perspective, as it risks masking our success and people thinking we didn’t have as a good year as we did.”

He added that significant incentives negotiated on the office to be occupied more than offset the £10.5m provision, with the firm signing up to a lengthy rent-free period.

Property services company DTZ is helping Wragges mitigate the costs of concurrent rents, with sub-letting one of the options under consideration.

Wragges’ accounts show that average remuneration per partner stood at £235,000, down from £276,000, as a result of the property cost. Without the exceptional cost, average profit share would have stood at £324,000 – consistent with the profit per equity partner figure released by Wragges.

For more details about Wragges’ performance click here.

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Fiona Westwood of Smith and Williamson.