Spain’s Uría Menéndez reports declining turnover

Slaughter and May’s Spanish best friend Uría Menéndez has announced a 4.5 per cent fall in turnover for 2012, with revenues declining from €188.8m (£162.7m) in 2011 to €180.2m last year.

The decrease is similar to that reported by Garrigues, Spain’s largest firm, following the end of its financial year in August (30 October 2012), and slightly greater than the 1.4 per cent decline announced by Gómez-Acebo & Pombo last month (7 February 2013).

Uría managing partner Luis de Carlos said the decrease was largely due to price pressure in the Iberian market, while the firm’s workload and billable hours recorded had remained broadly stable compared to the previous year.

The firm saw a minimal decrease in headcount. Total staff numbers fell from 889 in 2011 to 877 last year, while the number of qualified lawyers dropped by one. The firm now has 116 partners, up one from 2011.

According to de Carlos, the firm has been seeking to maintain its leverage at a steady ratio of one partner to four associates over the past few years. Uría is forecasting stable headcount for 2013.

De Carlos said the tax department had performed particularly strongly, while the size and significance of corporate transactions remained good. Deals the firm advised on in 2012 included acting for the China Development Bank and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China on a $1.2bn (£740m) loan to Telefónica (19 September 2012), providing Spanish advice to Cemex on its $7.2bn restructuring (18 September 2012), and representing CaixaBank and Santander on several transactions.

De Carlos added that 2013 had begun well, with January being busier than the same month in 2011, but it was “too soon to say” what the rest of the year would bring.