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Forsters upbeat as it posts 9% revenue growth despite flat real estate market

Forsters has weathered a slowdown in the real estate market to record 9% revenue growth, although the result brings to an end six consecutive years of double-digit increases.

Buoyed by strong results from the firm’s corporate, banking and private client teams, Forsters has seen revenue climb by 9% to £50.1m. While not matching the revenue growth rate, profit per equity partner (PEP) also rose slightly from £527,000 to £532,000.

With real estate revenues typically making up around half of Forsters’ turnover, a tough market hit by Brexit uncertainty made the firm look to other practices for growth. Forsters acknowledges advising family office client Greybull Capital on its purchase of Tata Steel’s long products business as a highlight. Combining the expertise of the firm’s corporate, banking and real estate practices, the deal saw Greybull pay a nominal £1 for the transaction, preserving 4,400 jobs in the process.

Forsters senior partner Smita Edwards (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘When people stop making decisions on real estate transactions, it has an impact. You’ll find for firms across the board after the Brexit referendum, clients stopped making business decisions for a couple of quarters.’

Managing partner Paul Roberts added: ‘We’ve had a good year compared to many of our competitors. Our belief is that the firm should grow strongly and sustainably. We do recognise some of the challenges out there in the year ahead, but we’re really excited.’

The firm is optimistic for the coming year after the acquisition of Gowling WLG’s London private client team. The team, which joins Forsters on 1 May this year, comprises partners Anthony Thompson, Catharine Bell, Nick Jacob and Daniel Ugur alongside 10 solicitors and five other members of staff.