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‘The idea is working’: Dentons Europe recorded double-digit revenue growth, LLPs show

Revenue at Dentons’ continental European arm grew 11% to €275.8m in the year to 31 December 2016, according to LLP accounts published this week.

In a year marked by five office launches and 32 lateral hires, the global giant’s continental operations also saw profits increase 13% to €72.3m, up from €64.2m in 2015.

The results mean the continental European LLP, which includes the legacy Salans business, accounted for around 15% of the firm’s $2.2bn global turnover last year.

More than 70% of mainland Europe revenue came from Dentons’ German, French, Russian and Polish offices.

France and Russia recorded a flat performance and Poland a 4% drop. However, revenue across the firm’s three German bases grew 23%.

Speaking to Legal Business, Europe chief operating officer Richard Singer pointed to the new Munich office, launched in June with three partners from Norton Rose Fulbright , and the growth of work handled from Berlin and Frankfurt due to a fast-growing German economy.

He also described the strong performance of the Milan operation as the reason behind the firm’s launch in Rome last autumn.

Dentons also launched in Luxembourg through a merger with local firm OPF Partners  and in Georgia with the hire of two DLA partners.

Singer said the European results showed ‘the Dentons idea is working’, noting the increase in cross-border and cross-regional operations, both between European countries and from outside the continent.

European work highlights include advising Liberty Global on its $800m acquisition of Polish operator Multimedia Polska and acting on the Polish and Romanian aspects of the €2.4bn sale of property company P3 Logistic Parks from TPG Real Estate and Ivanhoe Cambridge to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.

According to Singer, the 32 partners the firm hired in 2016 made an immediate impact on performance, adding that 80% of them had already delivered on the business targets agreed at the time of joining the firm.

The firm has also worked to improve efficiency. In November last year, it launched a business service centre in Warsaw in a joint initiative with its UKMEA operations.

‘The centre is helping us doing things faster and in a less expensive way,’ he said, adding that the process towards more efficiency included a closer collaboration between the firm’s 25 continental offices spread across 19 countries.

While historically the legacy firms which combined to form Dentons Europe  were managed at an office level and practices were not harmonised, Singer spoke of a drive towards increasing integration and efficiency that would allow the firm to benefit from economies of scale. The plan will be fully implemented in 2019. He added Dentons Europe had recorded double-digit growth in both revenues and profits in the first eight months of 2017 and he expected a stronger performance at the end of the year.

‘France, Germany, Poland and Russia are recording year-on-year growth, and that was not the case in previous years,’ he concluded.