National firm Slater and Gordon has started back on the acquisition trail after posting huge profit increases despite falling revenues in 2019.
The firm, which under previous owners consistently bought up firms across the country, said today it had completed ‘a series’ of transactions in recent weeks including the acquisition of north west personal injury specialist Jigsaw Law.
Slater and Gordon chief executive David Whitmore said the deal had enabled an ‘immediate and significant expansion’ of its PI business and it will continue to look at further opportunities to grow in this sector. No details have been released about the terms of the acquisition.
Jigsaw Law began as a claims management company but has been licensed as an alternative business structure by the SRA since 2012. According to its most recently-published accounts, covering the 10-month period ending 31 December 2018, the firm employed 56 people and made £1.1m profit before tax.
Slater and Gordon has had a turbulent few years where it suffered massive losses under its previous Australian owners after rapid growth backfired. Under a new regime, the firm invested in technology and has closed a number of officers as it pursued a new strategy.
The firm’s annual results, covering the full year ending 31 December 2019, show that profits and cashflow have increased as the company.
Profit before tax was £16.3m in 2019, compared to £1m in 2018 on revenues down 13% to £192.9m. The firm said this drop was expected after planned reductions in ‘less profitable channels of activity’.
Whitmore said: ‘We always planned for 2018 to be the year we stabilised the business and 2019 as the year we created the solid foundations to support an aggressive growth strategy. ‘By continuing to make significant investment in technology and our people we have also been in a good position to withstand the impact of Covid over the last six months.’
He added that investment in technology has allowed the firm to ‘lead the legal sector’ in the adoption of a more agile working culture, which has been accelerated during Covid. The firm has already stated its intention to move out of London offices this autumn to allow more home working and staff to meet in a smaller hub in the capital.
Whitmore said: ‘Our financial results are just part of the Slater and Gordon story. Our mission is to create technology driven legal solutions for all UK consumers.
‘The decisions we took in 2019 put us in a very strong position to overcome the challenges of the current environment and pursue further growth opportunities. We’re firmly on track to achieve our goal of becoming the leading UK provider of consumer legal services.’
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