• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Bumper set of results boosts Burness Paull

LAW firm Burness Paull has posted a bumper set of annual results with profits rising by 25 per cent.

PHILIP RODNEY: The Burness Paull chairman has hailed 'excellent results' for the firm. Picture: James Galloway
PHILIP RODNEY: The Burness Paull chairman has hailed 'excellent results' for the firm. Picture: James Galloway

There was also a 20 per cent increase in turnover to £46.3 million which comfortably cements the firm's place in the top tier of the Scottish legal sector.

The gradual improvement in the economy have seen improved results from a number of firms in recent months with Brodies posting a £52.1m turnover, Maclay Murray & Spens £43.3m and Shepherd and Wedderburn £38.3m.

Meanwhile Dundas & Wilson, now part of CMS Cameron McKenna but traditionally one of Scotland's largest firms, booked £47.5 million in its final year as an independent while Pinsent Masons, which merged with McGrigors in May, 2012, has yet to break out its Scottish figures although total turnover was up 4.6 per cent to £323m.

Burness Paull was formed through the merger of Burness and Paull & Williamson in December 2012. It remains the largest tie-up to date between two Scottish firms in a sector that has seen a large amount of consolidation in the past three years.

Yesterday Burness Paull said its net profit for the 12 months to July 31 this year increased from £16.5m to £20.7m.

The growth was said to be spread across all divisions of the firm which operates from bases in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

Chairman Philip Rodney described the financial ­performance as an "excellent set of results" and highlighted oil and gas, property and infrastructure as well as financial services as sectors which were particularly important.

He said: "We aim to have unrivalled firepower in each."

Among the deals Burness Paull advised on during the financial year were Standard Life's partnership with tennis player Andy Murray and Interserve's proposals for a £200m mixed-use development in the Haymarket area of Edinburgh.

It was also appointed by ­Aberdeen-based oil and gas giant Wood Group to advise on employment related services including pensions, data protection, immigration and tribunals.

Alongside that Mr Rodney pointed out more than 20 per cent of the business the firm does is now international in its nature.

One transaction saw the firm working for BlueGem Capital Partners on its investment in retailer Mamas & Papas which has operations in dozens of overseas markets.

Mr Rodney said: "Our model has allowed us to work in 55 jurisdictions over the last year - selecting the best independent firms as our partners.

"At the time of our merger, we aspired to be the best commercial law firm operating in Scotland. Our international ambition now means we want to be the best commercial law firm operating from Scotland."

Mr Rodney suggested the firm would not be resting on its laurels and said: "This is a rapidly changing market.

"We always have to look forwards, working with our clients and anticipating their future requirements.

"Our clients define our business strategy and service agenda, not us."

Part of that will involve adding to the 58 partners and 364 staff it has while the firm has also upped the number of trainee lawyers it is taking on by 10 to 24. Mr Rodney described people as the firm's biggest asset and said: "We have been able to attract some real stars over the last year.

"Nurturing and developing our team will continue to be a key driver and we will make significant investment in that this year."

The merged Burness Paull saw a rise in like-for-like turnover to £25.8m in its first eight months of trading to July 31, 2013, which translated into an annual sum of £38.7m.

Despite the jump in turnover there was a small dip in profits at the time, mainly as a result of additional one-off costs arising from the deal including areas such as rebranding and IT.

Contextual targeting label: 
Finance

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

253117