Legal Business Blogs

Financials 2017: Tough markets see CMS growth stall as group revenues dip below €1bn

A year of turbulence and tough markets in Europe has apparently taken its toll on the region’s legal market with CMS seeing growth stall with group revenues hitting €999m for 2016.

The revenue figures include CMS’ ten member firms that are combined together under a European Economic Interest Grouping. The firm said that without currency fluctuations it would have posted like-for-like revenues of €1.05bn, constituting a 4.1% increase in combined income. However, on face value it represents a minor dip on the previously reported revenues of €1.01bn for 2015.

The results mark the end of a period of substantive growth for CMS, which posted an 8% turnover increase in 2015. The combined revenue will place the firm just outside the top 25 law firms in the world based on turnover.

The network, which launched in 1999, over the year also saw office launches in Tehran and Hong Kong, filling out a 70-office network across 39 countries. CMS also earlier this year expanded its practices in Latin America with the addition of three local firms to its network in Chile, Peru and Colombia.

The results, however, do not include the headline-grabbing union of CMS’s UK member Cameron McKenna with Nabarro and Olswang. The three UK firms combined as a single partnership from 1 May 2017 in the largest-ever legal union by lawyer numbers in the UK.

The CMS grouping comprised 3,000 lawyers ahead of the latest UK merger, including major European firms such as Germany’s Hasche Sigle and Bureau Francis Lefebvre, though the grouping has made increasingly prominent use of the CMS branding in recent years reflecting a drive to integrate.

Stephen Millar (pictured), UK managing partner of CMS, attributed the results to a ‘very busy’ transactional market ‘despite the current volatility’. Millar also insisted that the global market ‘remains in good health and continues to show resilience’.

A key transactional mandate that CMS acted on was the £13.6bn sale of National Grid’s gas distribution business, where CMS advised a consortium of infrastructure investors.

For in-depth analysis on the merger of CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang click here.