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2020: a Record Year for Litigation Funder Burford Capital

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An annual report from litigation funders Burford Capital are further evidence of the burgeoning civil litigation sector in the UK.
In a recent business update for 2020, Burford, who offer claims funding to lawyers and clients engaged in litigation and arbitration, asset recovery and other legal finance and advisory activities, has reported record results, described as ‘the best year in its history for portfolio performance’. The listed funder, with main office locations in London, New York and Chicago, reported that its portfolio of ongoing matters is at its largest volume ever, with ‘record levels of realized gain and more cash from successes than ever before’.

Burford, which was founded as a new way to fund legal cases by Christopher Bogart in 2009, is also planning on reinstating its dividend to shareholders despite profit after tax being down in 2020 due to ‘modestly higher operating expenses and higher than normal book tax charges'. The company reports that new business had suffered as a result of the global COVID-19 pandemic in the first half of 2020, but activity then ‘snapped back’ in the second half. Overall, Burford stated that the COVID-19 pandemic had ultimately affected their business far less than they had feared 12 months ago. In commenting on the report, Burford CEO Christopher Bogart said:

Burford suspended its dividend in early 2020 due to uncertainty around the pandemic, but given the year's performance and Burford's strong liquidity position, the board will recommend that shareholders approve at the annual general meeting a full resumption of the dividend at its previous annual level of 12.5 US cents per share, with a record date in June 2021…‘2020 was another year of strong performance for Burford. We achieved record amounts of asset realizations from core litigation finance, which generated more realized gains and cash proceeds from case successes than ever before, driving our cumulative concluded case [return on invested capital] to an all-time year-end high of 92%. With cash on Burford's balance sheet of $336 million at the end of 2020, we are in a strong position to fund the additional future growth we anticipate. We look to the remainder of 2021 with excitement.”

  

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