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Financials 2014/15: Wragge reveals £181m turnover for first full year post-merger

Ahead of its recently announced tie-up in Canada, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co has posted turnover of £181m for its first full financial year post-merger, a moderate revenue increase of 5% over the combined results of the legacy firms Wragge & Co and Lawrence Graham.

At the time of their merger on 1 May last year, Wragges and Lawrence Graham had created a firm with £172m in revenue for the financial year 2013/14. Profit at the firm is down 3%, from £58.7m to £57m, with the firm operating at a margin of 32% down from 34% last year due, according to the firm, to ‘one-off costs related to merger integration and UKGAAP accounting requirements related to the firm’s new premises in Birmingham’.

The firm has not yet revealed PEP or confirmed the number of full equity partners at the combined firm but using the combined 139 equity partners at the legacy firms from the Legal Business 100 last year, would give a PEP figure of £410,000.

Speaking to Legal Business magazine, Wragge’s chief executive David Fennell (pictured) said the figures represent a strong platform for the firm to go into its combination with Canadian firm Gowlings, which the firm announced earlier this week.

‘We are really pleased with the results given it is our first year of merger and there was quite a lot of consolidation and integration work to do that in that period,’ he said. ‘The standout performance in the firm last year was our real estate group. For that group, turnover rose to £61m in addition to £11m for the firm’s construction and real estate finance team – a significant success story for us.’

The firm was also named Real Estate Team of Year at this year’s Legal Business Awards for its work on the Nine Elms regeneration project.

The firm’s corporate, finance and private capital group also delivered a strong year, with UK revenues of £36m. Highlights included acting for Formation Capital on its £477.7m acquisition of NHP Group and advising Birmingham City Council on the £307m sale of the NEC Group.

In life sciences, the firm advised AstraZeneca on its $1.275bn collaboration agreement with Innate Pharma to develop new cancer treatments, while the technology sector team secured a Court of Appeal judgment in favour of ASSIA in its high-profile IP dispute with BT Infinity broadband. The energy team advised Grid Essence on the sale and £40m re-financing of a portfolio of solar PV parks, and supported the first ever solar farm project in Sierra Leone.

According to Fennell, the firm’s offices in Paris and Munich also performed well, with the Paris office growing to €12m, an increase of 38% year-on-year, while Munich has seen growth of 58% year-on-year. ‘Those are very good performances if you think about what is happening in the wider European economy,’ he added.