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‘Strong result’: Watson Farley posts 20% rise in global revenues

In a significant improvement on last year’s financials, Watson Farley & Williams (WFW) has posted an increase in global revenues of over 20%.

The firm has seen its international revenue jump from £131.2m last year to £159.8m this year, although the firm notes that currency exchange rates have been a factor in those results.

Managing partner Chris Lowe told Legal Business that around 10% of the firm’s turnover growth is in real terms, while the remaining 10% is due to exchange rate fluctuations. He also confirmed that the firm’s profit per equity partner (PEP) has increased from around £500,000 in 2016 to £600,000 this year. Nonetheless, he said he considered the 20% growth a ‘strong result’ for the firm.

Co-managing partner Lothar Wegener also highlighted some of the headline deals on which WFW acted over the last year as a major factor in financial growth, such as the recent $14bn merger between shipping giants Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC).

WFW advised a group of 29 international and local banks who were acting as financiers on the deal, which will create one of the five largest container shipping lines in the world with 237 vessels and a combined turnover of around $12bn.

Dubai-based finance partner Andrew Baird led for WFW, with Allen & Overy advising Hapag-Lloyd and White & Case acted for the UASC.

The firm has been quiet on the lateral hire front in 2017, with the appointment of corporate partner Bjorn-Axel Diβars to WFW’s Hamburg office the only key hire. Diβars acts on transactional and disputes work, focusing on the oil & gas, international trade and maritime sectors. Lowe recognised the firm’s lack of lateral activity, but stated that ‘the availability of quality candidates’ has been low over the past 12 months.