2022 financial performance highlights
- Revenue of £798 million, up 12% on the previous financial year (£711 million in 2021) and year on year growth across every division
- Profit per equity partner of £1,175,000, up 13% on the previous financial year (£1,038,000 in 2021)
- Strong performance in all regions, and in particular the UK, Australia and Continental Europe
- Revenue and profit per equity partner have grown respectively by over 8% and 12% on average each year over the last six years.
"I am delighted to report Ashurst’s financial results which marks our sixth consecutive year of significant revenue growth, and our strongest financial performance to date," Paul Jenkins, Ashurst's Global Chief Executive Officer said. "We have now seen revenue grow over 8% on average each year over the last six years. I'd like to highlight in particular the commitment of our people in delivering successful outcomes for our clients through what has been another challenging year in many of our offices."
Paul Jenkins added that the impressive growth and performance of the firm was a result of Ashurst's relentless pursuit of its 2023 strategy, as well as the firm's ability to respond collaboratively across offices and practices – working closely with clients in an environment of economic and geopolitical change.
"A sharp focus on our strategy, priorities and goals in key areas of existing and emerging client demand has been core to delivering our FY22 results and ensuring consistent and sustainable growth. Over 85% of the firm's work is now done in our five key industry sectors – Banks & Private Capital, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Energy & Resources and the Digital Economy."
"We have navigated as a firm through the immediate challenges of the pandemic. We are now seeing a new geopolitical and economic environment emerge - with rising inflation and interest rates, supply chain challenges, and an increasing focus on energy transition," Paul Jenkins said. “Ashurst has seen heightened activity in areas such as regulatory advice, corporate transactions, finance, disputes and digital transformation. At the same time, demand has risen for our NewLaw and legal-led consulting businesses, with revenue growing by over 75% and 190% respectively, as our clients expect a more holistic approach to the delivery of legal services."
Global Chair, Karen Davies, said the firm's financial results show a commitment to continuously improving the client experience at Ashurst. "Our robust results reflect the hard work and commitment of our global teams. Together with our clients, we have delivered outstanding outcomes, advising on their most strategically important and significant mandates."
Significant global growth with a strong practice and industry performance
- Ashurst’s Corporate division, in particular in the UK, EMEA and Australia, had an outstanding year, reflecting the continued strength in the local and global M&A markets with the team advising on a number of high-profile and market leading deals across public and private M&A, private equity, infrastructure and ECM.
- The firm saw a third consecutive year of very strong performance in its global Dispute Resolution business. Highlights include acting for the largest single claimant in the UK follow on damages litigation against several major truck manufacturers arising from the European Commission's truck cartel findings and Euros 3.8 billion fines against the manufacturers, and on high-stakes contentious investigations. The German disputes practice in particular saw impressive growth.
- The firm saw consistently high levels of activity in the UK and Australia throughout the year, with both regions posting double digit revenue increases. In Asia, Singapore delivered impressive results with the finance division a particular standout.
- In Continental Europe the firm delivered outstanding outcomes with growth across all divisions. In particular the firm's Italian business continued to be recognised as a leading force for renewables, ranking number one in major legal directories and acting on landmark projects including advising on EF Solare Italia's SACE Green Guarantee financing.
- Ashurst’s US practice also produced an excellent performance in a year in which the firm significantly expanded its US projects capability to meet growth in client demand, opening a new office in Austin, Texas and further investing in new partners in Los Angeles and New York.
- Strong success for the Australian based Risk Advisory consulting business, now a separate division of the firm, with triple digit revenue growth in its second year of operation. Over the past twelve months many clients have tapped into this new offering, with the team being appointed on significant mandates across sectors including financial services, government and resources.
"I’m delighted to report the growth in performance both regionally and in many of the firm’s areas of global industry strength," Paul Jenkins said. “We have continued to deliver for clients and that’s seen in industry sectors such as Banks & Private Capital achieving over 25% revenue growth, and both the Real Estate and the Energy & Resources sectors recording double digit growth."
NewLaw and supporting client success
- Continued strong growth of the NewLaw division, Ashurst Advance, with firmwide use of Ashurst Advance has grown from 3% to over 8% of global production hours since 2019.
- Ashurst Advance Digital continued to transform its legal services using best-in-class technology - in the last year it has seen a 75% increase in the number of client matters supported, 47% increase in the number of clients supported and 55% increase in direct revenue.
- Since commencing operations, the firm's legal-led consulting business in Australia has also grown exponentially working strategically with Ashurst clients. This has led to significant growth both in terms of headcount and client demand, including the appointment of nine partners to the Risk Advisory consulting business since 2021 bringing the total team to around 100 people.
"Throughout the last year we have continued to redefine our delivery of legal services – expanding our combination of deep legal-led and consulting expertise. We are committed to leading the change in the way that legal services are delivered and experienced. Examples of this include successfully launching a strategic industry first alliance with Aurecon to provide clients with an integrated end-to-end solution across legal, risk and technical advisory particularly in the area of sustainability and climate change strategies," Paul Jenkins said.
Collaborative and progressive culture
- The firm made significant investment in its people with 29 strategic lateral hires, and the largest ever cohort of new partners in the firm's history promoted to the partnership, with the appointment of 25 partners. Reflecting the firm's focus on identifying, supporting and developing the pipeline of female talent, 43% of those appointed to the partnership were female.
- Launched a landmark gender neutral global parental leave policy, strengthening the firm's support for working parents.
- Invested in new office configurations which better support the way people work and connect and which has also seen the firm improve space efficiency by over 12% globally since 2019, with an aim of reducing office space globally by approximately 20% by the end of FY23.
"We believe our people are at their best when supported professionally and personally. As a firm we are focused on empowering our people to find the flexibility they need to accommodate their varied responsibilities and are dedicated to supporting them through the changes that are taking place in their lives," Karen Davies said. "The launch of our new parental leave policy, FamilyCare@Ashurst, reinforces this commitment through the introduction of a significantly enhanced and progressive package of measures which recognise the different routes to parenthood."
Commitment to being an inclusive and responsible business
- Re-set the firm’s diversity targets, with a broadening of focus areas, through the introduction of a global LGBTI+ target, ethnicity targets in the UK and renewed gender equality targets.
- Good progress was made in defining and taking forward the firm’s 10 Sustainability Goals and building on a culture of sustainability in the firm, including achieving an average 75% reduction in paper consumption on pre-pandemic office averages.
- A global Sustainability Taskforce has been established to hold the firm to account and to find creative ways to achieve its goals including conscious travel guidelines to help people across the firm make positive choices when organising travel arrangements.
- There was also continued investment in Ashurst's Modern Slavery Action Plan, which sets out specific objectives to enable the firm to support and respond to this important global issue. FY22 saw the Modern Slavery Action Plan deliver 1,452 hours of pro bono and 207 hours of specialist skilled volunteering provided through a secondment and employability / IT literacy workshops with survivors of exploitation.
"Delivering on the firm's commitment to inclusion, diversity and belonging is a key strategic priority for Ashurst, as an integral part of our responsible business and sustainability agenda. The release of our 2021-2023 IDB Action Plan in September 2021 ensures accountability by clearly setting out eight overarching inclusion priorities and practical steps we can collectively take as we work together to achieve our goal of being the most progressive global law firm," Karen Davies said.
"As Ashurst marks its 200 year anniversary in 2022, we are in a strong position to embark on our third century. We have ambitious growth plans for the firm, a clear strategic direction, purpose and vision. Given the strength of our culture, our global platform and the commitment of our people I am confident we will have another year of success and growth. We are looking forward to putting in place our 2027 strategy and to continuing with our growth trajectory," Paul Jenkins said.
Karen Davies added that the last financial year has seen the firm continue its focus on creating a fair and inclusive environment. "Recruiting, retaining and promoting the best people from the widest talent pools plays a key role in the success of our firm. To do that we need to create a fair and respectful environment for all."
Karen Davies concluded: "We have a well-diversified business and the successes of the past year is a testament to the distinctive culture and fantastic people we have at Ashurst who contribute to and drive the delivery of firm's strategic ambitions. Looking to the future, we are committed to further enhancing the client experience at Ashurst. By continuing this focus on our clients, efficiency and high performance, I am confident we will build on our achievements and deliver market leading solutions for the benefit of our people, our clients and our communities."
Delivering successful outcomes for our clients
Representative mandates in the last financial year include:
- Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC on the £7.3 billion takeover, and on its agreement to acquire the business of McColl's out of insolvency
- A consortium of banks on the €1.741 billion financing for the Autostrada Pedemontana Lombarda toll motorway
- Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Company Limited on its acquisition of Milton Corporation Limited for A$4.61 billion by way of scheme
- Wells Fargo and TD Securities, the bond underwriters, on the Washington DC Smart Street Lighting project - the District of Columbia's first P3 project to reach commercial and financial close
- The UK Government's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on the delivery of business models for the CCUS and Low Carbon Hydrogen programmes
- The successful debt restructuring of Hong Kong listed and Cayman Islands incorporated MIE Holdings Corporation - one of the major restructurings completed in the Hong Kong market
- Sydney Metro on its A$2.16 billion tunnelling contract for Sydney Metro West
- The largest single claimant in the UK follow on damages litigation against several major truck manufacturers arising from the European Commission's truck cartel findings and Euros 3.8 billion fines against the manufacturers
- Tate & Lyle Sugars in first UK judgment on interpretation of Northern Ireland Protocol and TCA subsidies control provisions
- Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Goldman Sachs International and Merrill Lynch International on the proposed demerger by GSK plc of its consumer healthcare business to form Haleon plc, an independent listed company expected to be one of the largest IPOs in the last decade
- DBS Bank and United Overseas Bank, as mandated lead arrangers, lenders and hedging banks (and the related agency functions), on their S$86.8 million green loan financing of a portfolio of rooftop solar projects developed under the SolarNova 4 programme – Singapore's largest clean energy project in history
- Leading trade associations, including AFME, on industry responses to significant DLT-related policy formulations as well as representing the world's leading financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs, on harnessing blockchain technology to originate trailblazing transactions
- 1&1 AG on the conclusion of an agreement with Vantage Towers for the rollout of its mobile network