CMS to renew hunt for US deal after flat first half

CMS is on target for a marginal increase in turnover in 2012/13 despite what UK managing partner Duncan Weston termed a “flat first six months”.

Duncan Weston
Duncan Weston

Although CMS does not disclose half-year figures, Weston said the CMS network had seen no movement on its combined 2011/12 revenue figure of £691.9m over the first six months of the year. Despite this, he still expects a slight overall increase in turnover at the end of the current financial year.

He said: “There’s no growth in the market and revenues are flat. Profitability is probably up a little bit as we’re focused on improving our efficiency levels.

“It’s a difficult market to predict, some months are better than others. But we’ve reached a scale in Europe where one or two per cent up or down is not the end of the world. The scale of our business helps us maintain our position in the market.

“Overall we expect the whole business to see growth in the top line by a small margin.”

Senior management at CMS remain keen on a transatlantic merger, with talks led by Cornelius Brandi (30 July 2012). Progress stalled while the US elections took place, though the firm will review that market again in 2013.

Weston said the CMS network’s profile is not undermined by flat financials, claiming that the firm is seen by the US as a very large European practice and that the current economic climate is reflected across the pond.

He said: “The US is having just as hard a time. The economies are all the same. It’s a case of commiseration, not damnation.”

Despite a tough six months in jurisdictions such as Russia and Spain, CMS continues to report year-on-year growth in Germany, France and Ukraine.

According to Weston that is due to an “extremely strong” corporate practice across CMS, gaining market share – despite the lack of big transactions – in sectors such as pharmaceutical, energy and insurance.

Last year was the first time that CMS disclosed detailed financial information on the entire network. The UK arm of the network, CMS Cameron McKenna, posted a one per cent rise in turnover from the previous year to £227.6m.