Garrigues results herald a bit of Spain relief

Garrigues results show another fall, but not as great as in recent years

For Europe, Garrigues’ September-August financial year is a bit of an anomaly – most European firms run with a calendar financial year. Garrigues’ mid-year year-end means its financial results are often a bellwether of what is going on in Iberia, and for the past few years have provided a sneak preview of how the financials for the rest of Spain’s big firms might look.

The news, therefore, that the firm’s revenue has declined for a second successive year and now sits below its 2009 results, is not great. Spanish lawyers have been speaking recently of their hopes that things are turning around after years of crisis. Indeed, the third quarter of this year showed a slight increase in GDP for the first time in 10 quarters, and unemployment dropped by 0.3 per cent. But 26 per cent of Spain’s population are still without jobs, and the fall may well have been due to a busy summer in the tourism sector.

Nevertheless, the rate of decline in Garrigues’ turnover has slowed. Revenue fell 5 per cent between 2010/11 and 2011/12, but by only 1.7 per cent in the past 12 months. And the firm is investing and growing – just last week it announced it was taking on board a team from Colombian firm Zarama y Asociados as part of its plans to open its own offices across Latin America.

As Europe’s largest independent firm, Garrigues is also making a big effort to improve its processes and efficiencies. So, if the macroeconomic improvement continues, next year ought to pay dividends.