Herbert Smith Freehills today announces its unaudited results for the year ended 30 April 2019.
Headline figures include:
- Revenues were £965.7 million, up more than 4% on the previous financial year (2017/18: £926.8 million)
- Profit was £306.7 million, up 11% on the previous financial year (2017/18: £277.2 million)
- Profit per Equity Partner was £949,000, up more than 11% on the previous financial year (2017/18: £852,000)
"This has been a very good year. Our financial and market performance is the strongest it has ever been. We have acted as trusted advisers to our clients on their most pressing strategic challenges. Our success reflects their success.
"All regions achieved good increases in both profit and revenues. We set out clear priorities for the year regarding: a relentless focus on our clients and markets; continued emphasis on embedding our Beyond 2020 Strategy into all aspects of the business; refining our financial discipline; increasing our productivity and efficiency; and continuing to reform our cost base. These have been acted on right across our business and the outcome can be seen in our impressive financial performance and the continuing development of our business, building on our previous growth and improvement.
"A major highlight of the year was the success of our global Corporate practice, which saw a standout performance with revenue up 15%, including an impressive revenue rise in London. Meanwhile, our global Disputes practice once again delivered positive results, with particularly strong performances in Europe and Australia.
"We are very pleased with our performance in EMEA, which has continued to impress with a double digit revenue rise. Paris is now our fifth largest office by revenue and our German practice had its best year yet. Johannesburg and Milan also contributed to the strong revenue growth. In Asia, we continued to perform strongly on the back of some market leading mandates, including on-going Belt and Road initiative where we have already advised on more than 40 matters totalling US$10billion. In Indonesia, through our association with Hiswara Bunjamin & Tandjung, we performed exceptionally well, and revenue in our Malaysian office doubled in its second full year of operation. In the US, our New York office has continued to go from strength-to-strength, expanding its revenues and capacity. Our Australian practice remains market leading, with particularly strong growth in Sydney and Melbourne.
"Looking ahead, we will continue to put clients at the heart of our decision-making, seeking to provide them with a truly differentiated service where they experience the benefits of our commercial and legal expertise, the strength of our geographic reach, our digital leadership, and the quality of our people. We will continue to invest heavily in our people and culture, with an emphasis on health and wellbeing and empowering everyone to develop to their full potential in a modern, progressive environment."
"We remain determined to deliver exceptional service to our clients which means tailoring what we do to achieve their specific goals, building deep long term relationships and constantly seeking to improve what we do.
"This year's strong performance both financially and in the quality of work reflects those relationships that focus on improvement and the commitment and enthusiasm of our teams around the world."
Strategic highlights include:
- Continue to be lauded by the directories as a 'dispute resolution powerhouse' and ranked Number 1 in the world and acting on landmark disputes and investigations for clients including:
- The Republic of Costa Rica, securing a unanimous and unprecedented victory against US investors;
- Conducting an independent investigation for Ted Baker into allegations about former founder and its policies, procedures and handling of employee grievances.
- Single Buoy Moorings in its contested insurance claim in the English courts regarding the Yme oil platform;
- Lloyds Banking Group and five of its former directors in relation to the shareholder class action arising from the acquisition by Lloyds TSB of HBOS and the recapitalisation of the combined entity; and
- National Australia Bank regarding the Banking Royal Commission.
- A strong 2018 in M&A deal tables: 1st in Australia, 1st in Asia Pacific, 2nd in the UK, 7th in Europe and 13th globally1. Advised on almost 194 cross-border deals totalling US$261 billion in 2018.
- Key Corporate mandates include:
- advising Sky on Comcast's successful £30 billion recommended cash offer for Sky;
- advising ARRIS International on the $7.4 billion acquisition by CommScope Holding Company;
- advising EDF, International Finance Corporation and Government of Cameroon on the development of the Nachtigal Hydroelectric Project (420MW) in Cameroon;
- advising April, a French insurer listed on Euronext Paris, on the acquisition by British fund CVC Capital Partners of the majority stake of its share capital to be followed by a mandatory tender offer;
- advising Orange, one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, on its acquisition of Basefarm Holding AS from Abry Partners II, LLC, a US private equity investment firm;
- advising Rio Tinto on the sale of its US$3.5 billion stake in the Freeport Grasberg copper mine to Indonesian government mining entity Inalum;
- advising BHP on the A$15 billion sale of its US shale assets to BP; and
- advising TPG on the proposed A$15 billion Vodafone merger.
- Providing clients with cutting edge service delivery: growing the technology arm of our global Alternative Legal Services business through a new eDiscovery team based in the US and an expanded our eDiscovery capability in Asia.
- Launching a global Legal Operations function, bringing together our legal project management, pricing, legal process improvement, innovation and automation teams into a single unit to provide more effective and efficient services to clients and the firm's lawyers.
- Driving forward innovation: named the FT Asia-Pacific Innovative Law Firm 2019 and launched our 'Innovation 10' initiative, giving staff up to 10 days per-year to work on innovation projects. We Introduced new technology including: a software-enabled risk modelling service to help clients quantify, visualise and evaluate the risks inherent in a dispute: and software to help clients respond to data leaks quickly, reducing the financial impact of a cyber-attack.
- Launching a multi-year European strategy, which sets out plans for growth through targeted and measured enhancements in our existing European offices, and identifying and capitalising on opportunities to expand our platform strategically.
- Stronger Brand: The firm is ranked Number 12 in the world in the Acritas Global Elite, it won three Australian Law Firm of the Year awards; and is ranked Number 5 in Law360's Global 20 List 2018.
- Reinforcing our commitment towards greater gender diversity by: setting a 35% gender target for the proportion of women in the global partnership by 2023; launching a parental leave policy in Asia, allowing all employees in the region to share primary childcare responsibilities with their spouse or partner, regardless of circumstance; adopting the Mindful Business Charter as part of our Health and Wellbeing Commitment; and established a new multicultural network in Asia.
- Making 12 strategic lateral partner hires, a third of these were in EMEA: three in Paris, a key growth area for the firm; and one in Madrid, with the hire of a five-strong arbitration and litigation team.
- Promoting 22 lawyers to the partnership this year with six in EMEA – the largest number of promotions across this network for six years.
- Delivering inspiring pro bono and citizenship work, providing over 67,000 hours of pro bono advice globally. We also reduced our carbon footprint by 14%.
Notes to Editors
Consistent with reporting of the 2017/18 results, unaudited revenue and profit figures for 2018/19 are reported using actual average exchange rates.
1 Thomson Reuters Global M&A Legal Advisory Review (Full Year 2018)