Slater & Gordon secures Welsh bolt-ons as UK half-year revenue soars to £60m

Slater & Gordon has confirmed it is merging with Welsh firms Leo Abse & Cohen and Walker Smith Way in the latest in a string of acquisitions.

The Lawyer first reported that the Australian listed firm was in talks with Cardiff-headquartered Leo Abse & Cohen in September last year (25 September 2014). The tie-up, together with the addition of Chester and Wrexham-based Walker Smith Way, will add around 200 staff and five offices to Slater & Gordon’s UK presence and continue to boost UK revenue, which almost doubled over the past year.

The two Welsh firms have a particular focus on trade unions and other membership organisations, in addition to matching Slater & Gordon’s focus on personal injury and negligence claims. Both firms will be dual-branded for the next 12 months.

Slater & Gordon managing director Andrew Grech said the acquisitions advanced the firm’s strategic objectives in the UK by building on its existing regional presence.

The news follows an announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange this morning (10 February) that the firm had achieved a 37.6 per cent increase in global revenue in the first six months of its financial year, from July to December 2014. The firm brought in A$245.3m (£125.3m), while net profit rose 46.5 per cent to A$33.7m.

The announcement also revealed that the firm was carrying $161.9m of net debt at the end of the 2013/14 financial year on 30 June, with a gearing ratio of 34.4 per cent.

UK revenue rose to A$117.6m (£60.1m) in the first six months of the 2014/15 financial year, up 91 per cent from A$61.5m in the same period of the previous year. Net profit stood at A$18.5m, up 153 per cent from A$7.3m in 2013/14.

As well as bolting on a number of firms in Australia, Slater & Gordon has acquired several practices in the UK since launching through a merger with Russell Jones & Walker in January 2012 (30 January 2012).

Last September it acquired East Midland firm Flint Bishop’s Injured Patient Claims arm, a claimant personal injury and a clinical negligence team (8 September 2014). 

The firm also picked up the bulk of PI business Fentons in September 2013 (21 August 2013) and Pannone in February 2014 (17 February 2014). 

It is also currently in talks with Aim-listed legal services provider Quindell to buy one of its operating divisions, understood to be its legal services arm (23 January 2015).

The firm’s revenue smashed through the £100m barrier in the 2013/14 financial year, with an 119 per cent increase in turnover from £46.1m to £101m (12 August 2014).

Slater & Gordon has also today announced a refreshed brand and a new wave of TV advertisements which will air from next week.