Ashurst sees post-merger revenue rise by 5.8 per cent at half-year point

Ashurst has recorded a half-year turnover of £298m for the firm, compared to £281.7m for the same period last year.

Managing partner James Collis said the 5.8 per cent increase in revenue was down to stronger economic conditions and an uptick in transactional work in early 2013/14.

The results take Ashurst back on track for growth, after witnessing its turnover drop by 6 per cent in the first six months of 2012/13 (26 November 2012).

The firm’s finance practice had a particularly strong half year. Its corporate practice has benefitted from an increase in capital markets work, while Ashurst’s disputes practice is also “performing robustly”.

The firm’s European offices – Paris, Madrid, Munich and Frankfurt in particular – had a healthy start to the year. It also saw positive results in the Middle East and Asia, with its Hong Kong office a notable highlight.

Collis noted: “We’ve also seen success in the US, where our structured finance team has been busy without a real break for summer.”

It was a busy six months leading to 31 October for Ashurst, which voted in favour of a full financial tie-up with Ashurst Australia in September (26 September 2013). The firm has re-jigged its global governance structure (11 July 2013), selected Sydney-based Mary Padbury as vice chair (18 October 2013), and ousted its former senior partner Charlie Geffen from management – voting litigator Ben Tidswell into its newly-established chairman role (16 October 2013). It has since voted in a new global board (5 November 2013).

In June, the firm officially opened its new low cost base in Glasgow, funded partially by a joint venture between the Scottish Government and its economic development agencies (12 June 2013). Collis said: “It opened in early September, so it’s only been about three months, but it’s very much developing according to plan.”

He continued: “It does lead to difficult news for a contingent of our loyal support staff,” referring to the firm’s cull of more than 120 support staff jobs from its City HQ in October.  Every staff member affected was offered the opportunity to relocate to Glasgow, which a number accepted (4 October 2013).

In 2012/13, Ashurst posted a static turnover figure on the previous year – inching up 0.3 per cent, from £322m to £323m. However, average profit per equity partner fell by 9 per cent, from £744,000 to £680,000, while net profit dropped 6 per cent, from £112m to £105m (5 July 2013).

Collis said that compared to the last six months of 2012/13, the latest figures show “significant improvement” in net profit.