Australian heavy-weight consumer law firm Slater & Gordon have announced an impressive 21.1% profit increase for the first half of FY14, with total revenue up 22.3% to A$178.3m (NZ$193.5m), just a day after announcing the expansion of a class action against several New Zealand banks.
The profit increase follows the firm’s relatively rapid expansion into the UK market over the past 18 months, starting with the acquisition of the firm formerly known as Russell Jones & Walker. Slater & Gordon have since acquired four more firms in the UK, and are reportedly on track to finalise the purchase of yet another, Pannone, this month.
Slater & Gordon group managing director, Andrew Grech, told the Australian Securities Exchange that the results are pleasing, but also indicated that the firm is now looking to slow down the rate of acquisition.
“We have been able to maintain a strong overall financial and operational performance in our Australian practice whilst accelerating our expansion into the UK market… By compressing our acquisition program in the UK into a shorter time frame we have given ourselves the opportunity to move more quickly to improving operational performance as we have been doing in Australia in the past 12 months.”
The firm’s completion of the Pannone transaction will land Slater & Gordon with an estimated 5% of the UK claimant PI market share, according to Grech, and the firm is now focusing on 'integration'.
While Slater & Gordon does not have an established New Zealand presence, it announced this week that it has expanded its class action against New Zealand banks ANZ and Kiwibank to include Westpac, BNZ and ASB, as part of legal action against ‘unfair’ penalty fees.
Slater & Gordon has partnered with Auckland lawyer Andrew Hooker, who will lead the Fair Play on Fees class action, and litigation funder Litigation Lending Services.
Hooker said court documents would be lodged against the three banks on Friday, 28 February, 2014.
Slater & Gordon is one of Australia’s leading consumer law firms, employing 1,200 people in Australia and a further 480 in the UK.