Listed Australian firm Slater & Gordon says it is ‘well on the way’ to becoming the UK’s leading consumer legal services provider after another acquisition.
In an announcement to the Australian stock exchange, the firm today confirmed the purchase of asbestos disease specialist John Pickering & Partners.
The deal, for an undisclosed amount, has been subject to due diligence and is expected to be completed on 27 November.
The firm was started in 1979 by John Pickering. Revenues were £3m last year and it has now grown to eight partners and 30 staff with offices in Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Halifax.
Slater & Gordon Managing Director Andrew Grech Pickering as ’a highly respected and well established specialist asbestos litigation firm’. He said: ‘The acquisition reinforces our competence in a key area of personal injury (PI) work and adds to our geographic footprint in the UK.’
Slater & Gordon now employs around 800 people in 13 locations across the UK. Over the past two years it has acquired all or part of Russell Jones Walker, Taylor Vinters, Fentons and Goodmans. According to figures released to the Australian Stock Exchange, revenue in the UK was more than £41m for the year ending 30 June, generating a profit after tax of £6.35m.
At today’s annual general meeting, Grech told shareholders: ’On a combined basis, the acquisitions are expected to deliver an annual revenue base of A$63m [£37.5] – fast approaching our existing UK revenue base and well on our way to achieving our goal of becoming the leading provider of consumer legal services in the UK.
‘There is a lot to be done and a strong pipeline of opportunities under active consideration, but I am confident we have the management capability in place to successfully select, acquire and seamlessly integrate these new firms.’
Grech said that in the UK he forecasts 8% revenue growth in 2013/14 from the existing operations, making A$80m (£48m) revenue and EBITDA margin of 18%.
Slater & Gordon’s share price has risen around 50% over the past six months and reached an all-time high of A$4 earlier this week.