Slater & Gordon claims commanding UK market share

Slater & Gordon has ‘a commanding market share lead’ in the UK, its managing director claimed today as the Australian-listed law firm announced a 27% in annual revenues to £243m.

Its ever-expanding UK operation contributed £121m of this, excluding the first month’s contribution from Quindell’s professional services division, which has been renamed Slater Gordon Solutions (SGS).

It said SGS – the acquisition of which has hit the firm’s share price heavily – is showing ‘good early signs’ and is operating as expected.

In the year to 30 June 2015, the firm recorded income of £99m from its UK personal injury operation, with a further £22m from its general law services, although both recorded below-target earnings.

In a statement S&G said, ‘The personal injury law practice capitalised on its emerging brand presence in the UK with a strong increase in new cases opened including in the multi-track area. The general law practice is building momentum to become a leading provider of specialised personal legal services in the UK.’

Internal research indicated that one in four people in the UK recognised the Slater & Gordon name, it said. In Australia it was nearly three in four.

It also indicated that there would be no further acquisitions in the near future.

The whole business recorded organic revenue growth of 11% in the year when the impact of its various acquisitions were removed. EBITDA for the group was £57m, up 21%, although the margin was down marginally on the previous year at 24.5%.

Group managing director Andrew Grech said, ‘We are very pleased with the financial results we have been able to deliver in FY15. We have put a lot of effort into business improvement initiatives throughout the year and it is satisfying to see this effort translating into improved client satisfaction, deeper brand awareness and improved financial performance.’

He continued, ‘The underlying operational performance across Australia and the UK is strong and we have again delivered what we promised at both a strategic and operational level. The results are even more pleasing having regard to the intensive acquisition activity and additional scrutiny our team has had to contend with.’

‘Our guidance reflects our confidence in the future of both Slater & Gordon Lawyers and Slater Gordon Solutions. We now have a commanding market share lead in both Australia and the UK. Free from the demands of near-term acquisition activity, we will be able to focus our efforts on continuing to improve operating effectiveness.’

The firm’s share price was up nearly 6% on the back of the results and announcement of changes to its accounting practices, which are under scrutiny from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and also contributed to the dramatic drop in share value in recent months.