Dentons hails ‘strongest ever’ results after MMS acquisition

Senior partner Kenneth Shand (left) with UK and Middle East chief executive Jeremy Cohen. Picture: Contributed
Senior partner Kenneth Shand (left) with UK and Middle East chief executive Jeremy Cohen. Picture: Contributed
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Law firm Dentons has reported revenues in excess of £200 million following its acquisition of Glasgow-headquartered Maclay Murray and Spens (MMS).

The legal group’s UK and Middle East operation hailed its “strongest ever” financial results, as revenue in the divisions increased by 21 per cent to £205m for the 12 months to the end of April.

Net profit at the firm also rose, increasing by 27 per cent to £60m.

The annual results incorporate six months of trading as a combined firm after the acquisition of MMS, which also has offices in Edinburgh and Aberdeen, in October 2017.

MMS, which had a different year end to Dentons, has also published its closing accounts for the partial financial year to 27 October 2017, showing revenues of £15.8m and net profit of £3.6m.

The average number of Denton UK members in the year was 155, reaching 176 following the merger, with the highest paid member earning £1.4m.

The firm, which acted on behalf of the UK government during the Carillion liquidation, reported that its closing cash position was “very pleasing given the completion of the merger”.

Meanwhile, staff costs increased 12.5 per cent compared to the previous year, principally driven by the addition of staff from MMS for the final six months of the reporting period.

The firm also posted an £800,000 reduction in its bank loans, leaving the outstanding amount at nil as of 30 April.

The accounts encompass the firm’s operations in the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Morocco, in addition to its UK practices.

Jeremy Cohen, chief executive for the UK and Middle East region, said: “This is our strongest ever set of financial results, following a year of exceptional performance across all areas of the business.

“It is particularly pleasing to have achieved this level of revenue and profit growth during a period of intensive integration activity arising from the merger with Maclay Murray and Spens.

“Since joining forces half way through the financial year our lawyers in England and Scotland worked together on more than 1,000 client matters.

“Overall, the bigger picture for us is that the investments we have made in the UK and Middle East over the past few years are now really starting to pay off.”

The firm has seen revenues rise by 39 per cent in the four years since the financial year 2013/14.

Cohen cited acting for KKR on its binding €6.8 billion (£5.9m) offer for the spreads business of Unilever as among last year’s highlights, as well as advising DP Eurasia on its successful launch on the London stock exchange.

He added: “The contentious practices continued to make excellent progress, appearing in court acting for FTSE-100 companies more than any other firm for the second year in a row.

“We also benefited from some very substantial matters reaching a high point in the disputes cycle, such as representing RBS in its defence of the Wall claim, and our work on a multi-million dollar arbitration concerning the fit-out contract for Terminal 3 at Dubai Airport.”