Wragges sees turnover rise at half-way stage

Wragge & Co has announced a half-year revenue figure of £60.6m, representing a rise of 4.5 per cent on its first-half turnover last year.

Ian Metcalfe
Ian Metcalfe

Managing partner Ian Metcalfe said he was disappointed to come in slightly under an aggressive budget, yet pleased with the results in view of the market.

Wragges posted £58m turnover for the first six months of the previous financial year, leading on to a 2011/12 turnover of £118.2m (21 November 2011). Its latest figures put it on course for another 12 months of growth.

Metcalfe said: “We want to be stretching ourselves if we can and that’s the reason for an aggressive budget. The whole marketplace is difficult and to be up slightly on last year’s figure is a real positive. That’s down to an extraordinary amount of hard work across our offices.”

Metcalfe said the real estate practice has been particularly strong for the first six months of the financial year, with investment and development work as key residential clients refresh their landbanks in anticipation of a rise in demand for new homes and social housing.

He said Wragges had held its nerve in the area and that a long-term view was now paying off with the practice working to a 90 per cent utilisation rate.

“There’s no glass ceiling and clients are entrusting us with the sorts of transactions that were historically the preserve of magic circle firms,” he said. “We have a different cost base and some developers and investors are less prepared to pay the level of fees of a large City practice. It’s working very well in our favour.”

Elsewhere, the dispute resolution, contentious and non-contentious construction practices and pensions groups have weighed in to the half-year turnover figures. The energy and regulatory teams are also busy, Metcalfe added.

Corporate remains slow and Metcalfe said: “We need to win more work, improve sales and drive the recovery of that part of the business. To a certain extent it’s market-led and out of our hands, but we need to be winning more market share and making ourselves known for corporate M&A in certain sectors – such as health and energy – to try and drive top-line activity.”

Wragges has had a mixed six months overseas, with the Paris office ahead of budget, but the €1m turnover Germany practice and £1m China practice “slightly quieter” than last year. They both recorded significant rises in 2011/12.

Metcalfe said: “The Middle East is a pretty hard slog at the moment, with turnover below where we’d like it to be. But a couple of wins in the last week might help the second half of the year’s figures.”