Clydes moots second Saudi launch as firm posts half-year turnover hike

Clyde & Co is considering launching a second Saudi Arabia base in Jeddah, as it emerges that the firm has delayed transferring partner Ben Cowling to the country’s capital Riyadh amid a logistical hitch.

Peter Hasson
Peter Hasson

The firm opened in Riyadh in 2009 through an association with with Abdulaziz Al-Bosaily (6 April 2009) and is contemplating setting up in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, following similar recent launches by Ashurst and Cobbetts (12 November 2012).

Clydes chief executive Peter Hasson told The Lawyer: “It’s something we continue to look at, but the difficulty in Saudi Arabia is finding the right people. We are very lucky in finding the person we’ve got in Riyadh who is a proper lawyer rather than a name above an office door.”

Separately, Hasson confirmed that projects and construction partner Ben Cowling had not yet offically joined the firm’s Riyadh base amid plans for him to relocate from Dubai in May this year (16 July 2012), although he his spending the majority of his time in the jurisidiction. The UAE-qualified lawyer was made up to the partnership in this year’s promotions round (1 May 2012).

The news comes amid Clydes’ announcement of its financial results for the first half of 2012-13, which see the firm post a 10 per cent like-for-like revenue rise.

Half-year income from May to October this year was £145m, 37 per cent up on £106m for the equivalent period in 2011, but the latest figure includes revenue resulting from the firm’s merger with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert last year (29 July 2011).

The increase figure is similar to the 36 per cent revenue rise it unveiled for the 2011-12 financial year, in which it brought in fees totalling £287m (5 July 2012).

The last six months has seen Clydes launch in Perth and Sydney (2 July 2012) as well as Libya (12 July 2012).

It also expanded in San Francisco through the addition of a team of five insurance litigators led by Squire Sanders counsel David Gabianelli, who joined the first as a partner earlier this year.

Hasson commented about hopes for future results: “We’re looking at that steady 10 per cent growth, but whether you can achieve that in this market is difficult to stay.”

He added: “We’ve been growing in Asia fairly rapidly – we’ve actually done very well in aspects of Shanghai and done well in Singapore. Brazil and Latin America have been strong for us. We normally have a stronger second half than first half.

“Trading and transport and disputes have been a good area over the last six months and the last twelve.”