Wragges increases profits by forty five per cent on last year

Birmingham-based Wragge & Co has announced record turnover figures for this financial year.

The 40 per cent increase brings Wragges’ gross fees this year to £76.3m. Last year’s turnover was £54.5m with average profits per partners of £257,000.

The total net profit for this year, which is yet to be finalised, is estimated to be no less than £26m, rocketing by 45 per cent on last year.

But expansion next year is expected to slow, reflecting the changes in economic climate. Next year’s budget will be just over £90m, only a 20 per cent growth on last year.

Explaining the firm’s success, senior partner John Crabtree says: “The increase comes largely from our focus on a number of key markets – either through merger or organic growth and senior appointments – combined with the strength of a full service operation.”

This strategy has won the firm a host of new clients, for example Preussag AG, which made a £1.8bn bid for Thomson Travel Group, and the flotation of Israeli-registered XTL Biopharmaceuticals.

High-profile projects have also been brought in by the new technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) group.

The team advised on the outsourcing of British Airways’ IT systems and the £18.5m acquisition of Compelsource. Another client is Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

The dispute resolution group performed particularly well, increasing turnover by 51 per cent. And the utilities team was boosted by a series of lateral hires. Derek Goodban joined from National Grid, Beverly Sullivan from British Energy and Irwin Mitchell’s head of corporate Andrew Harrison also joined.

Wragges’ partner-count has increased to 109 and, considering its partner policy, the turnover figures are particularly impressive.

Managing partner Quentin Poole explains: “We expect partners to only bill an average of 1,000 hours. This is because the job of partner is considered to be about developing relationships with existing clients and cultivating new work. Billing more than 1,000 hours could actually lead to a decrease in profit share.”

Wragges shares out its profits on a merit-based system.

Following on from last year’s link-up with London intellectual property firm Needham & Grant, a merger with a niche TMT firm may be on the cards for next year. However, Poole says that no talks are underway at present.