Legal Business Blogs

HFW’s continued international growth lifts revenue 8% in tough market conditions

UK top 50 firm HFW has produced a competitive set of financial results headlined by a 12% rise in profit and strong international performances.

Revenue for the 2017/18 financial year increased 8% to £179.1m, while profit per equity partner (PEP) was up 2% to £542,000. In the past two fiscal years, HFW’s revenues have grown by more than 25%.

PEP’s relatively slow growth compared to profit, which was £47.5m, was due to an increased partner headcount. The firm has already added 18 partners this year, including nine lateral hires and nine internal promotions.

A key factor in HFW’s improved financials was the collective performance of its international offices. Out of the firm’s 19 international hubs, six of them saw revenue boosts of more than 20%: specifically Geneva, Houston, Lebanon, Perth, Riyadh and Sydney.

HFW senior partner Richard Crump told Legal Business that the firm’s international offices now accounted for 60% of total turnover, in comparison to 55% last year. That was alongside a ‘still growing’ London office, he said.

Crump said the firm’s growth came amid challenging conditions: ‘All the markets and sectors are tough. Price remains an issue for all our clients. The days in the past of being able to raise your rates are gone.’

The firm’s energy and construction sectors saw double digit growth over the last financial year, while shipping was less robust. Crump commented: ‘It was less than other areas but that’s to be expected, it’s a mature market.’

HFW’s commodities group was another standout performer, recording revenue growth of more than 21%. Aerospace and insurance were also up by double-digit percentages.

Among the nine lateral hires made this year, HFW announced earlier this week (30 July) that it had hired construction partner Kijong Nam from Ince & Co.

The firm last week (24 July) also acted for the Greek state on the €535m privatisation of its gas network alongside Clifford Chance (CC).