Commercial firm Gateley has posted profits up in its first year as a stock exchange-listed company – and is predicting ‘business as usual’ in the run-up to Brexit.
Audited results for the year ending 30 April show pre-tax profits up 12.2% to £11m on revenue up 10.2% to £67.1m. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation rose 13.3% to £12.8m.
Gateley became the first UK law firm to be listed on the stock exchange in its own right when it floated on the Alternative Investment Market market in June 2015.
Michael Ward (pictured), chief executive, described the results as ‘in line, if not better, than we expected’. He said that trading in the first two months of the current financial year has been 'encouraging'.
On the business climate in the aftermath of the EU referendum vote, Ward told the Gazette: ‘Uncertainty and change is generally good for lawyers. I’m not saying it was a positive development, but for us it is business as usual.’
Today’s results show an increase in cash reserves from £2.7m to £9.8m, raising the possibility that acquisitions are being planned.
In April the firm bought tax incentives advisory business Capitus for £2.72m, including £1.59m in cash.
Ward would not be drawn on whether any further announcements are imminent but said: ‘We continue to look for acquisitions that are complimentary, and we would be looking to grow the business we are acquiring.’
All five of the firm’s strategic business divisions - banking and financial services, corporate, business services, employees, pensions, benefits and property - reported growth last year, though Ward said the climate was ‘challenging’ in employment and pensions.
In the aftermath of the referendum vote, commercial property is ‘seeing a little bit of a slowdown in London’ he said, but ‘our general view is that deals are being delayed rather than put off’. The fall in the value of sterling also creates repricing opportunities, Ward said.
‘The UK is a cheaper place to be transacting in than it was two weeks ago.’
Shares in Gateley rose 4.5% on the announcement, to 107.5p.