Legal Business Blogs

Financials 2020/21: Ashurst breaks the £1m PEP barrier again as turnover climbs 10%

In another set of buoyant pandemic financial results, Ashurst has breached the £1m-profit-per-equity-partner barrier for the first time since the global financial crisis, while revenues received a double-digit boost.

PEP stood at £1.038m, a striking 15% increase on last year’s £903,000 figure. In doing so, Ashurst has fulfilled managing partner Paul Jenkins’ ambition to top £1m in PEP , albeit a year later than hoped. 

There was also an impressive 10% growth in revenue, climbing from £644m to £711m. On a five-year stretch, Ashurst’s revenues have grown by a resounding 40%, while PEP jumped an above-trend 72% over the same period.

On breaking the £1m PEP barrier, Jenkins (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘I don’t think there is a particular symbolic significance to it, we achieved it a number of years ago. I am more pleased with the fact that we have now had five consecutive years of strong revenue growth and 85% of our revenue this year came from our five focus sectors. Reaching £1bn in revenue will however be symbolic, and we are now not far off achieving that milestone.’

A pre-merger Ashurst previously topped £1m PEP in the 2007/8 financial year, before profitability nose-dived at most firms amid the global financial crisis.

As alluded to by Jenkins, Ashurst saw over 10% revenue growth in each of its banks and private capital, digital economy and energy and resources sectors, but the firm’s international network also proved a significant source of growth. Continental Europe and Asia both achieved double-digit revenue increases, with ‘particularly impressive’ performances in Germany, Paris, Luxembourg and Singapore. Ashurst confirmed that its UK business was also up by double-digits.

Ashurst is the latest in a line of firms to report a flurry of transactional activity in the second half of the financial year which boosted results. Key mandates highlighted by the firm included advising PPL Corporation on the £7.8bn sale of UK electricity distribution group Western Power Distribution, and assisting software company AVEVA Group on its $5bn buyout of OSlsoft.

Jenkins concluded: ‘The trading performance we saw throughout FY21 has continued into the new financial year. We have maintained momentum in the market, with each division starting the year ahead of budget.  We have an incredibly well-diversified business and there are some significant opportunities in the industries in which we have great strengths. We are in a strong position to deliver on our ambitious growth strategy for this financial year and beyond.’

For more on Ashurst’s unlikely rebound in recent years, see ‘Inflection point – Ashurst steps back from the brink but can the revival last?‘ (£)