Salans sees turnover rise and profits flatline in 2011

Pan-European firm Salans has unveiled a five per cent turnover increase with flat profits for the 2011 financial year.

Salans reported turnover of €206.3m (£171.9m) for the year ending on 31 December 2011, up from €196.5m it announced in 2010 (28 March 2011). Net profit was announced at €41.9m, similar to 2010’s €42.1m, giving the firm a profit margin of 20.3 per cent and average profit per equity partner of €551,000.

The figures are subject to revision as Salans is an LLP and will file its audited accounts later in the year. The firm’s 2010 LLP accounts showed turnover of €208m and net profit of €51.4m, but 2011’s figures are also likely to be revised upwards.

Global managing partner Dariusz Oleszczuk said he was happy with the results, which had come in a year of investment for the firm.

“I wouldn’t say it was an easy year,” he told The Lawyer. “It was quite challenging and we had to do a lot of work.”

Oleszczuk said the firm’s Eastern European offices, in particular Poland and the Czech Republic, had performed well. Salans’ French, German and New York offices had also had a good year, but its London office – hit in November by the departure of a team to US firm Locke Lord (7 November 2011) had found market conditions tougher.

He added that Salans’ real estate, private equity and venture capital teams across the firm had experienced a rise in activity.

Salans’ headcount rose across the board last year. It employed a total of 1,577 people, including 770 lawyers and 192 partners. Those figures compared to a total headcount of 1,525 in 2010, with 730 lawyers and 185 partners. The firm made 13 lateral hires during the course of the year.

Oleszczuk said Salans would continue to invest in people.

“It’s a process of working on incentivising and managing partner performance,” he said.

The firm allocated an extra €1m to total partner remuneration in 2011, bringing this figure to €65.8m or average earnings of €343,000. The equity spread is expected to be €280,000 at the bottom to €1m at the top end. All Salans’ partners are remunerated wholly on merit. 

Oleszczuk declined to comment on the progress of merger talks with SNR Denton, first reported by The Lawyer in February (14 February 2012), saying he would not comment on “speculation”.

However he added: “Every firm is evaluating its position and opportunities and clearly the UK is a market in which we need to grow and we also need to grow in the US.”