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Financials 2017: Linklaters sees currency impact drive 10% income hike as PEP surges 8% to hit £1.5m

Global revenue at Linklaters was up 9.8% in 2016/17 to £1.44bn, a record high for the Magic Circle firm, although the leap was largely due to the strong euro and dollar and the weak pound. In constant currency terms, revenue rose 1.7%.

In the first Magic Circle firm financial results to be announced this year, Linklaters’ pre-tax profit stood at £664.4m, which was flat on the previous year in constant currency and excluding one-offs. Compared to last year’s £611.9m, pre-tax profit rose 8.6% in sterling terms.

Profit per equity partner (PEP) increased 8% to £1.51m. 

Linklaters managing partner (pictured) Gideon Moore told Legal Business of his satisfaction with the results: ‘The team did great work, particularly bearing in mind the political background, with the Brexit vote in Britain and the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States.’

The US, UK and south-east Asia performed particularly strongly, while the firm’s Italy offering posted its best ever annual revenues, focused on its banking practice.

In Britain, the firm advised on the second-largest infrastructure deal in the UK in the past decade, separating National Grid’s gas distribution business into a newly-incorporated company, Cadent.

Linklaters also advised Unilever during a hostile takeover bid from Kraft. Had it succeeded, it would have been the second-largest takeover in corporate history.

Other key deals for the firm included Anheuser Busch (AB) InBev’s takeover of SABMiller for £79bn, to create the world’s largest beer firm, as well as acting on Softbank’s $100bn fundraising.

In March, the Magic Circle firm revealed its ‘Strategy Refresh’ project, part of Moore and senior partner Charlie Jacobs’ drive towards a new approach, after former managing partner Tony Angel’s years at the firm’s helm.

‘Next year we will implement the strategy’, said Moore. ‘And that’s the difficult bit. We want to get the team to work very closely with everyone else to make sure we are all going in the same direction.’

Moore added that diversity was a big factor in his vision for the firm, as shown by this year’s appointment of Western Europe regional managing partner Claudia Parzani, Asia’s regional practice head Nathalie Hobbs, alongside client and sectors partner Sarah Wiggins to the firm’s executive committee.

‘We can’t provide the best team for our clients unless we are sure we are looking at every person that could be part of that team,’ concluded Moore.

‘Our clients want to have the best solutions delivered, and in order to do that we have to have a diverse team: otherwise we would have four people sitting around a table all thinking the same thing.’