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Listed law firm records big profit increase

Listed law firm records big profit increase

ASX-listed law firm Integrated Legal Holdings (ILH) has recorded a 51 per cent increase in profit after tax for the 2011 financial year.ILH - which includes the member firms Argyle Lawyers,…

ASX-listed law firm Integrated Legal Holdings (ILH) has recorded a 51 per cent increase in profit after tax for the 2011 financial year.

ILH - which includes the member firms Argyle Lawyers, Civic Legal, Talbot Olivier and Law Central, released its financial results for 2010-11 yesterday (18 August). The firm reported an operating revenue of $28.5 million for that period, a 19 per cent increase from 2009-10. The firm's net profit after tax was $1.29 million, with earnings per share increasing by 19 per cent to 1.41 cents per share.

In releasing its half-year financial results in February, ILH recorded a net profit after tax increase of 96 per cent.

ILH managing director Graeme Fowler told Lawyers Weekly that he was "very pleased with the progress of the group".

"These results were realised through a combination of getting the basics right," he said. "Organic revenue growth, the acquisition of new group members and continued business improvement were the three key areas we focused on."

In February ILH purchased Wojtowicz Kelly Legal and this month PLN Lawyers, with both firms "tucked-in" with existing member firms Civic Legal and Argyle Lawyers.

Fowler said that the acquisition of further firms remains a key part of the strategy for ILH.

Despite the share price of ILH steadily declining from its opening in August 2007 of 35 cents per share to yesterday's close of 11 cents per share, Fowler said the dividend payments available to existing shareholders demonstrated that ILH offered good value to investors.

"I think there is enormous value in ILH shares," said Fowler. "From a dividend point of view, with a 20 per cent growth in fully franked dividends, it represents a good return. Try getting that from a bank."

With around 60 to 70 per cent of ILH shareholders being current staff members, Fowler said that he would like to see more external shareholders to improve the firm's liquidity position.

Earlier this week, Slater & Gordon released its financial results for 2010-11. Slaters generated $182.3 million in revenue for the most recent period, an increase of 46.2 per cent on 2009-10.

ILH and Slaters are the only two law firms in the world that have listed on a stock exchange.

*See today's Lawyers Weekly magazine cover story on the merits of law firms listing on the stock exchange here

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