Ashurst announces financial results - marking fifth consecutive year of revenue growth
21 Jul 2021
Global law firm Ashurst has announced its results for the financial year ended 30 April 2021.
2021 financial performance highlights
- Revenue of £711 million, up 10% on the previous financial year (£644 million in 2020)
- 40% growth in revenue over a five-year period, with an average annual growth rate of more than 7%
- Profit per equity partner of £1,038,000, up 15% on the previous financial year (£903,000 in 2020)
- 72% growth in profit per equity partner over a five-year period, with an average annual growth rate of more than 11%
Paul Jenkins, Ashurst's Global Managing Partner (pictured) said, "We continued our financial growth trajectory with strong FY21 results, marking the fifth consecutive year of revenue growth for the firm. While some practices and markets during the early part of the financial year were impacted by the pandemic, we continued to support clients as they navigated ongoing challenges and the firm experienced strong trading performance from the end of Q1 which produced a very good set of full year results. A consistent focus on our strategy and goals over the last five years, together with longer term planning, has allowed us to successfully achieve sustainable revenue and profit growth."
Strong growth trajectory for global business
- Year on year revenue growth across all regions and divisions.
- Focus on Continental Europe and Asia delivered double digit growth in both regions, with a particularly impressive trajectory in Germany, Paris, Luxembourg and Singapore. With the economy rebounding from the crisis, the firm posted very positive results in the UK, again recording double digit growth. The Middle East offices also performed robustly during the year.
- The firm saw an impressive performance in Corporate, in particular in the UK, Germany, and Australia, driven by a strong appetite for M&A as companies reshape for a post-pandemic future.
- Finance, Funds and Restructuring also performed very well, with ongoing demand for regulatory, funds, global loans and global markets work driving double digit growth in those areas.
- The continued focus on strengthening dispute resolution capability was reflected in another year of very strong performance.
- The firm's industry strategy continued to deliver for the business with its five key industries accounting for approximately 85% of global revenue. Ashurst's global credentials in the Banks & Private Capital, Digital Economy and Energy & Resources industries saw more than a 10% increase in revenue in each sector in the last financial year.
- Continued to expand and deepen expertise through the appointment of 26 lateral partners, across eight offices and all divisions.
"Continuing to invest in the business and progress our strategy has been a key focus in the last financial year and has ensured we now have an even stronger market position. The strength of the business and our attractive platform is reflected by the calibre of the 26 lateral partners hired in the last year," Paul Jenkins said.
Accelerated the integration of legal services, legal consulting and NewLaw to meet client demand
- • Ashurst Advance, the firm's NewLaw division which focuses on legal technology, process and efficient delivery, had an 11% increase in contribution to total firm production hours.
- The firm created and launched its first digital advice product offering and the number of clients the firm delivered digital solutions to increased by 65% year on year.
- Ashurst Advance advised on an award-winning programme of work helping a leading bank deliver urgent funding to small businesses across the UK to survive the challenges of the pandemic and recover afterwards.
- Ashurst Consulting expanded considerably in Australia, now with a team of over 50 consultants, including seven partners. There are plans to expand the business outside Australia in the year ahead given its success.
- Combined legal expertise, consulting and efficient delivery to provide a unique triple offering to clients.
"Client demand for legal excellence combined with world class efficiencies and technological solutions saw yet another robust year for Ashurst Advance. Ashurst Consulting exceeded expectations in its first year of operation with our revenue doubling every quarter, and we are aiming for it to expand into other jurisdictions over the year ahead," Paul Jenkins said.
Transformed the operational model and embraced agile working
- Invested in new office configurations suited to progressive ways of working, focusing on collaboration and agile working. This has already seen the firm improve efficiency in the use of space by 6%, with plans to reduce office space globally by approximately 20% by 2023, and with savings to be invested in improved facilities and technology.
- Expanded the global delivery centres in Brisbane and Glasgow, doubling the number of staff executing centralised and standardised processes for the global firm.
- Embraced a hybrid working model, with the aim of staff spending approximately 60% of their time in the office and 40% working remotely.
"Transforming the firm's operating model and technology systems was a continued area of focus and this has seen us develop and deploy a number of key initiatives. We reduced expenditure as a direct result of the pandemic in areas such as travel and use of office space, and have used this opportunity to shape our agile working model while maintaining our focus on collaboration," Paul Jenkins said.
Reinforced commitment to being an inclusive and responsible business
- At the end of FY21, the firm concluded its two year Inclusion, Diversity and Belonging Action Plan, having made significant progress towards putting diversity at the heart of everything Ashurst does.
- In FY21, 67% of partners promoted were female, which increased to 78% in this financial year. 50% of the firm's Executive Team, which is led by global managing partner Paul Jenkins, are female and 61% of those who hold senior business services roles are female.
- In the UK, the firm's ground-breaking work on social mobility has seen the ethnic diversity of its graduate programme increase year on year and over 40% of graduates are now ethnically diverse.
- 62,000+ pro bono hours were recorded globally last year, and the firm launched its first Modern Slavery Action Plan, allowing it to expand the existing pro bono work and partnerships in a critical area.
- Affirming its continuing commitment to ESG and sustainability, Ashurst also established and recently announced its Sustainability Goals which chart a quantifiable path for the firm to continue to build on its culture of sustainability, focused on helping clients capitalise on opportunities from the transition, progressing the firm's journey to Net Zero and increasing its pro bono and social impact.
"We firmly believe that it is our people and culture that create a distinctive Ashurst experience and our collective effort enables us to make a positive impact throughout Ashurst and our wider communities," Paul Jenkins said.
Reflections on 2021 and looking to the year ahead
"Over the last year, our people have made extraordinary contributions to the business, their teams and our clients. The resilience, collaboration and teamwork everyone has shown has played a critical role in the firm's success. In recognition of this outstanding contribution during a particularly challenging period, we doubled the size of the year-end bonus pool, which exceeded all savings from the pandemic-related reduced working arrangements for staff during the early part of the financial year," Paul Jenkins said.
Global Chair elect, Karen Davies, commented that everyone has shown exceptional commitment over the last year which has resulted in very positive outcomes for clients and for the firm. "The hard work of our global teams has delivered impressive results for the business and we have supported clients on their most high profile and business critical matters. There are some significant opportunities for our firm in the year ahead and I am looking forward to working with Paul, the Board and the Executive Team to build on our achievements and the great progress we have already made."
Paul Jenkins concluded: "The trading performance we saw throughout FY21 has continued into the new financial year. We have maintained momentum in the market, with each division starting the year ahead of budget. We have an incredibly well-diversified business and there are some significant opportunities in the industries in which we have great strengths. We are in a strong position to deliver on our ambitious growth strategy for this financial year and beyond."
Delivering extraordinary outcomes for clients
Representative mandates in the last financial year include:
- • AVEVA Group plc on its US$5 billion acquisition of OSIsoft including its c.US$3.5 billion rights issue and acquisition debt financing (UK)
- Northern Star Resources on its A$16 billion gold merger with Saracen Mineral Holdings - creating the second biggest gold mining company in Australia and a top-10 gold mining company globally (Australia)
- PPL Corporation on the £7.8 billion sale of UK electricity distribution group Western Power Distribution (UK)
- Equitix and Goldman Sachs in separate roles in relation to KKR's proposed £2 billion takeover of John Laing Group plc (UK)
- Woolworths Group in relation to the A$11 billion demerger of its retail drinks and hospitality business to create an independent ASX-listed company, Endeavour Group Limited – the largest Australian capital markets transaction of 2020/2021 (Australia)
- Tyme on a joint venture with JG Group to create one of the Philippines' first digital banks (Hong Kong)
- FCC and Meridiam on A465 road project in Wales - the first project to be procured by the Welsh Government under the Mutual Investment Model (UK)
- Cardtronics on the US$2.5 billion acquisition by NCR Corporation (UK)
- Brighte in the first 100% green asset-backed term securitisation in Australia (Australia)
- ADNOC on US$5.5 billion real estate investment partnership with Apollo - one of the region’s largest real estate transactions (UAE)
- The lenders on EF Solare Italia's SACE Green Guarantee financing - one of the first and one of the largest SACE Green Guaranteed loans in the market (Italy)
- Transport for New South Wales on the Western Harbour Tunnel motorway project in Sydney (Australia)
- J.P. Morgan and UK Export Finance on the €1.9 billion financing for the landmark Cairo Monorail - the first monorail project in North Africa and, once complete, the longest monorail system in the world (France)
- Maryland Department of Transportation on its I-495/I-95 Capital Beltway and I-270 Congestion Relief Improvements P3 Project (US)
- An international consortium on the sale of the Silberturm in Frankfurt to Imfarr Beteiligungs in a joint off-market deal with SN Beteiligungen - one of the largest real estate transactions in 2020 (Germany)
- Santander in relation to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (UK)
- Bank of New York Mellon, as trustee of Europcar Group's over €1 billion bond issuance as part of Europcar Mobility Group's financial restructuring (France)
- Corsair Infrastructure Partners on the shareholder dispute with Globalvia regarding ownership of Spanish toll road operator Itinere Infraestructuras (Spain)
- The joint mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners in relation to US$450 million syndicated green loan to SK Battery America, Inc. (Singapore)