Olswang celebrates 30 per cent profit rise after strong year

Olswang has made a significant return to financial form, posting a 17 per cent rise in turnover and a 30 per cent growth in profit in its 2011-12 financial results.

David Stewart
David Stewart

Turnover at the London-headquartered TMT-focused firm rose from £92.6m to £108.1m. Average profit per equity partner, while still subject to verification and audit, is expected to hit around £530,000, a figure that should put Olswang comfortably back in the upper echelons of its core mid market.

Olswang’s CEO David Stewart said that while it had been a challenging year for the legal market Olswang’s recent international expansion and sector focus had been drivers behind the strong financial results.

In particular, added Stewart, the firm had seen an increase in instructions from new and existing TMT and real estate clients, with litigation and corporate the stand-out areas.

“It was a very good year for the litigation team with significant revenue growth,” said Stewart, “but the star of the show was corporate, which was solid across the network.”

Highlight corporate matters for Olswang last year included advising BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, on its £115m disposal; the £293m sale of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine; and NVIDIA’s $367m acquisition of Icera.

On the contentious side Olswang’s work for News Corp’s Management and Standards Committee, where it helped draw up a code of practice in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal and subsequently advised on wider issues relating to the investigation, stands out (16 May 2012).

Stewart added that while the firm’s international expansion had certainly been a factor in the firm’s 17 per cent turnover increase, around 60 per cent of the improvement was down to London.

“The other 40 per cent was helped by a full year of our Paris office, our new Munich office and our four-partner Singapore office,” added Stewart.

In February this year Olswang opened an office in Singapore (9 September 2011), a region where clients include Tune Hotels, euNetworks, Visa, Tata, PayPal and Microsoft, while during the year it also added a number of lawyers to its overseas office network.

International revenue now accounts for around 20 per cent of the firm’s turnover while headcount was boosted by a total of 11 new partner hires and eight partner promotions throughout the year.