Dundas posts ‘disappointing’ results at end of tough year

Profit at Dundas & Wilson dropped by 35 per cent in the 2011-12 financial year, with average profit per equity partner (PEP) also falling by 35 per cent and turnover dipping by 12 per cent.

Turnover at the firm was £54.5m in 2011-12, down 12.1 per cent on 2010-11’s £62m. Over the same period net profit dropped by 35.2 per cent, from £25m to £16.2m, and PEP dropped by 35.4 per cent, from £325,000 to £210,000.

The sharp decline comes after stabilising results in 2010-11, when turnover was up 2 per cent and average PEP was up 8 per cent on the previous year (4 July 2011).

The average number of partners at the all-equity firm during 2011-12 rose by one on the previous year, from 79 to 80, while the average number of lawyers dropped from 278 to 260 over the same period.

Allan Wernham, who was elected as co-managing partner along with Caryn Penley in June (21 June 2012) after running the firm on an interim basis since March, said in a statement: “Our trading in the financial year ending April 2012 was obviously disappointing, with revenue in the second half of the year in particular reflecting the reduced activity from some of our key clients.

“On the plus side, it was a year in which we followed through with several significant investments to ensure the future strength of the firm, in spite of the testing economic conditions.

“We’ve opened a new office in Aberdeen; we’ve made investments in our London team through lateral hires in banking and litigation; and we’ve made four internal promotions to partner.”

Wernham also stressed the firm’s absence of bank debt and 29 per cent profit margin.