Legal Business

ABS Fairpoint Group legal revenues hit £30m as firm hunts further acquisitions


Finance company Fairpoint Group, which in recent years has pushed into the legal market with the acquisitions of Simpson Millar and Colemans, has posted annual revenue of £31.6m from its legal services division. The figure is a 165% jump on the £11.9m brought in last year.

By turnover the legal services division of the firm now makes more than established LB 100 firms such as Wedlake Bell, Kingsley Napley and Russell-Cooke. The AIM-listed alternative business structure (ABS) reported total revenue of £54.1m for the year ended 31 December 2015, up 41% from the year £38.3m prior.

Legal revenues now make up 58% of the group’s total turnover, or 67% of revenue on a pro-forma basis.

While much of the boost in legal services turnover can be attributed to the firm’s recent acquisitions, organic underlying growth was at 4% for the period. Fairpoint chief executive Chris Moat told Legal Business the company now has a strong operating platform to build out from and is on the hunt for acquisitions. While Fairpoint has a target list of law firms in the double digits, Moat would not name the firms he is talking to.

Moat said Fairpoint is on the hunt for two types of acquisitions; the first category being simple transactions which would boost the ABS in terms of economies of scale – such as small firms of 10-20 partners without succession plans.

He added: ‘The second type is more strategic acquisitions which develop our business model – the kind of things we are looking at, to be up there with the top five consumer law firms, would be family law and public law, if you take family as a sector you need local representation and we don’t have full coverage of the UK yet.’

Moat acknowledged it was important to bed down recent acquisitions first but added: ‘There is quite a bit of turbulence in the market which has affected a number of our competitors and that will throw up some opportunities for us.’

The firm, which will release its first unified marketing campaign in Spring under the Simpson Millar brand, indicated it is not concerned by proposed changes in the Autumn Statement to whiplash claims, given it only makes up 8% of the firm’s total business. In any event, Fairpoint said its recently acquired legal processing centre, means that the firm can manage such legal work at low cost.