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Slaters eyes UK market

Slaters eyes UK market

Slater & Gordon has its sights set on the UK legal services market following the introduction of legislation allowing listed companies and incorporated law firms to compete with Britain's…

Slater & Gordon has its sights set on the UK legal services market following the introduction of legislation allowing listed companies and incorporated law firms to compete with Britain's traditional law firms.

Speaking at the firm's annual general meeting on Friday (21 October), company chair Anna Booth said the company's board is supporting the search for opportunities in the UK following a deregulation of the legal services market which allows listed companies to trade as Alternative Business Structures under the Legal Services Act 2007.

"[The] board continues to give support to management to explore opportunities for Slater & Gordon in overseas markets, particularly in the UK, which is a similar legal jurisdiction to Australia," said Booth.

"I wish to assure shareholders that your board will ensure that every similarity and every difference has been critically assessed before we consider any investment overseas."

While the firm's recent acquisitions of Trilby Misso and Keddies have proven to be fruitful - bringing in an additional $43 million in revenue since they joined the firm earlier this year - Booth acknowledged that similar acquisition opportunities in the Australian market are dwindling.

"While we certainly see scope for further growth in the Australian personal injuries litigation market, there are limited opportunities for more acquisitions of the Trilby Misso or Keddies size," she said.

"We'll continue to pursue opportunities to accelerate the organic growth of the personal injuries business while we develop other avenues for the long-term growth of the company."

Managing director Andrew Grech said opportunities in the UK market are being "more seriously evaluated" with the firm looking to take advantage of the changing regulatory environment and the fact the personal injuries market in the UK generally has lower working capital requirements.

Slater & Gordon continues to enjoy strong financial growth, with Grech revealing total revenue earnings of $182.3 million for the 2010/11 financial year - a jump of 46.2 per cent from the previous year.

Over the past five years, the firm has achieved 30 per cent compound annual growth and Grech is confident the firm can exceed total revenue of $200 million for the 2011/12 financial year.

The firm listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2007 and was the first law firm in the world to do so.

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