Dentons posts massive drop in PEP to £300,000

Denton Wilde Sapte has recorded a 36 per cent drop in average profit per equity partner (PEP) for the 2008-09 financial year.

The firm announced a PEP figure of £300,000, down from £470,000 last year. Total revenue was up by 3 per cent over the same period from £164.4m to £169.8m.

Dentons chief executive Howard Morris (pictured) said he was “obviously pleased” with the revenue rise but disappointed with the profitability fall.

“In piloting any business in these waters, these are sound results,” Morrissaid. “Vast profit increases together with providing an economic service to clients is not going to be possible in this market.”

Morris highlighted the £3.5m cost of the firm’s redundancy programme, which saw the loss of 76 jobs, as contributing to a lower profit pool this year. Total profit was £25.8m this year, a margin of 15 per cent, down from £40.4m in 2007-08 (a 25 per cent margin).

Other costs included investment in new offices in Singapore and Kuwait and the associated relocation costs of having seconded 14 fee-earners abroad.

Revenues at the 181-partner firm were buoyed by the fact that Dentons bills in dollars in the Middle East, where it has five branded offices and three associate offices.

Morris said particular growth areas firmwide included infrastructure and technology, media and telecoms. The latter group grew by 12 per cent while energy, infrastructure and transport climbed 8 per cent. UK-based restructuring also saw a revenue growth last year.