Murgitroyd ‘can be choosy in takeover search’

PATENT attorney outfit Murgitroyd is seeking its first sizeable takeover in almost five years after growing its full-year profits in the face of tough economic conditions.

Keith Young, CEO of Murgitroyd Group. Contributed

The Glasgow-based firm, which has 15 offices across eight countries, expanded its German presence last month by

swallowing a practice in Munich, and chief executive Keith Young told The Scotsman that he was now on the look-out for bigger deals.

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Its last major acquisition was the £500,000 deal for Croydon firm Raworth in 2009.

Young said: “If opportunities come along we’ll do them if they add to earnings, but we don’t feel any pressure to do deals and we can be very selective.”

Murgitroyd is also considering establishing a foothold in Paris, which will be a seat for Europe’s unified patent court, although its introduction is likely to be pushed back into 2015.

The Aim-quoted company employs almost 250 people, with 15 in the United States.

US applicants make up about a quarter of all European patent applications, but Young said the firm will focus on organic growth there, with any acquisitions “much more likely to be in the UK or elsewhere in Europe”.

Pre-tax profits rose to £4.5 million for the year to 31 May, from £4.4m last time, on broadly flat turnover of £36m. A final dividend of 8.75p was proposed, taking the total for the year to 12.5p, an increase of 4.2 per cent.

James Tetley, analyst at house broker N+1 Singer, predicted “solid” growth for the years ahead, but trimmed his profit forecast for the current year to £4.7m, from £4.9m previously.