Legal Business Blogs

Financials 2015/16: Revenue growth slows at CMS as group posts 8.4% lift

CMS has reported revenue and profit growth for 2015, with turnover increasing 8.4% year-on-year to £735.2m, and profits up 6.8%. The revenue figure includes fees from CMS’s ten member firms which operate under the CMS brand as part of a European Economic Interest Grouping.

Figures released today (10 June) show revenue growth has slowed, as the group last year reported 11% revenue growth and profits up 3% off the back of two mergers in 2014.

CMS UK senior partner Penelope Warne (pictured) said: ‘Although Brexit has presented some challenges and uncertainty in the UK market, we have maintained a strong and successful business.’

She added: ‘We have had significant growth in corporate and banking, where we have achieved double digit growth, and that has been tremendous. I think that each year, more and more, as we work within CMS, we become more integrated.’

Major deals for CMS have included advising AMP Capital on a joint acquisition of a £365m stake in Angel Trains and acting on an international banking consortium led by KfW IPEX-Bank and UniCredit on the €1.2bn refinancing of the bank loans of VTG Aktiengesellschaft.

CMS Cameron McKenna elected its new managing partner Stephen Millar in February this year. The energy partner succeeded long-standing chief Duncan Weston in May, who had been in the role since 2008. Weston has been appointed CMS executive partner for global development, with a mandate to build relationships with potential future partner firms.

CMS has made significant changes in the past few years, focusing in on energy, life sciences and financial services. Millar also recently played a central role in driving through CMS Cameron McKenna’s merger with Scottish firm Dundas & Wilson in 2014. CMS von Erlach Henrici also concluded a merger in 2014, with Swiss law firm ZPG Avocats.

In his election manifesto Millar promised to globalise the business, targeting expansion in the Middle East, Asia and North America. At the start of 2016 CMS Hasche Sigle announced an outpost in Tehran, making it the first international law firm to launch in Iran after sanctions were lifted on the nation.

Millar said: ‘There has been a wide spread acknowledgement that the last six months has been a challenging market, so we are really pleased to see this significant growth – as for what others do we will have to wait and see.’

He added: ‘In terms of Dundas & Wilson the integration has given us a much higher turnover in the UK, and what it’s allowed us to do is pursue a number of very good client opportunities. We’ve really seen that come through with some of the key accounts. That was the aim of the merger and this has started to deliver.’

Other LB100 firms to release results early this season include Fieldfisher which posted a 7% increase in firmwide revenues for 2015/16, up to £121.5m from £113.3m. Osborne Clarke posted a 23% rise in global revenues to €236.3m, while TLT posted a 15% turnover lift to £71.6m in May.