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1,800 companies’ legal spend up 18% to $3.5bn - RIL alone billed Rs 1,200 cr, Ranbaxy doubled costs to Rs 850 cr: ET

The Economic Times’ research arm, the ET Intelligence Group, surveying more than 1,800 listed companies, has revealed that their legal spend was Rs 21,906 crore ($3.5bn) in the 2013-14 financial year, an increase of more than 17.5 per cent on last year.

Out of the five biggest spenders on legal fees in 2013-14, Ranbaxy more than doubled the fees paid to lawyer to Rs 844 crore ($137m), according to the ET, as Reliance Industries, TCS and Larsen & Toubro legal spend increased by a third or more.

In the top 5, only Infosys managed to keep its legal costs under control at Rs 504 crore, down Rs 2 crore within a year.

Top spenders, via ET:

  2013-14 legal spend (Rs cr) 2012-13 spend % change y-o-y
Reliance Industries 1184 876 +35%
Ranbaxy Laboratories 844.54 416.45 102%
TCS 613.61 460.54 33%
Larsen & Toubro 526.52 363.84 45%
Infosys 504 506 -0.4%

By sector, according to ET data, it emerged that on average the 25 companies in the oil and gas sector spent the most, at around Rs 73 crore per company on average, dwarfing the next-biggest – the pharma sector – where 106 companies spent an average of Rs 32 crore each.

Finance companies - the largest sample size amongst the biggest sectoral spenders in the ET’s survey, with 200 companies -  spent only Rs 7 crore on average on legal advice.

Sector 2013-14 legal spend (Rs cr) 2012-13 spend Number of companies Spend (Rs cr) / company Increase y-o-y (%)
Oil & Gas 1831.3 1399.5 25 73 31
Pharmaceutical 3371.8 2540.4 106 32 33
Infotech 3065.3 2703.6 115 27 13
Capital Goods 1754.1 1612.6 126 14 9
Finance 1363.1 1188.4 200 7 15

The methodology for arriving at the figures was not disclosed in the article.

Read the full news report at the Economic Times, with comments from several law firm partners.

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