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News - 07 August 2012

Bird & Bird has posted a rise in average profit per equity partner (PEP) of 10 per cent for the 2011-12 financial year on the back of a net profit rise of 8 per cent.

Further figures have now been released from Bird & Bird’s audited accounts showing a rise in net profit of 8 per cent, from £38m to £46m, making the firms profit margin at almost 20 per cent, a slight rise on 18 per cent in 2010-11.

In June, CEO David Kerr told The Lawyer that the turnover figure represented “outstanding growth” in every area of the business, with revenues also receiving a boost from the firm opening offices in Hamburg and Abu Dhabi at the start of the last financial year.

Kerr said that some “spectacular” fee income came from the firm’s energy sector, with significant growth in Asia and resolute performance in the troubled European economies.

Kerr admitted that the results were “better than expected” at the start of the financial year.

In a statement, he said: “We’ve pursued a sector-focused approach since the 1990s and our continued growth reflects the success of that strategy.

“To meet the needs of clients in our key sectors, we have expanded internationally and our growth comes from successfully building new offices as well as delivering excellent client service in our existing locations. As a result, every country has grown its fee income, despite the challenging markets.”

As well as gaining income from its association agreements with firms in Denmark, Morocco and Tunisia, the firm experienced double-digit growth in its eurozone-based operations, as well as in Asia. A tenth of the partnership is now based in China and Singapore and the firm expects Asia to represent 20 per cent of the firm in the next three-to-five years.

The firm now has over 250 partners globally, with 30 per cent in the UK, 10 per cent in Asia and the remaining 60 per cent in the rest of the EMEA region.

Kerr added: “Trading conditions in many of our key markets have been very difficult but we’ve continued to invest in providing career progression and development opportunities for younger lawyers within the firm.

‘Our reputation in sectors has also helped attracted highly experienced experts to join our teams, who enable us to bring in higher quality work.

“Going forward we’ll continue to focus on delivering deep industry knowledge, international reach and excellent client service and responding to the continuing challenges of the legal service market.”