Eversheds Sutherland posts 8% revenue hike for 2016-17 as partner profits dip

Eversheds Sutherland has posted an 8% revenue increase for its non-US business during the 2016-17 financial year.

The legacy Eversheds business took in revenues of £438.6m during the last financial year, up from £405.5m in 2015-16.

The firm completed a transatlantic merger with Sutherland Asbill & Brennan on 1 February this year, but the merger partners have remained financially independent, meaning Sutherland’s US revenues are not factored into these results.

Despite the revenue increase, net profit and profit per equity partner (PEP) both fell, by 4% and 2% respectively. PEP decreased to £726,000 from £742,000 in 2015-16, while net profit fell from £87.5m to £84.1m.

Speaking to Legal Week, the firm’s new chief executive Lee Ranson welcomed the results. “Against the backdrop of a fairly uncertain world, we have achieved very significant growth,” he said.

He attributed the fall in profitability to costs incurred by the Sutherland merger, continued investment in staff, and the integration with German firm Heisse Kursawe, with which Eversheds merged in 2015 after a 10-year alliance.

Ranson said: “Continued strategic investment in people, recruitment and, most notably, our US combination led to an anticipated slight dip in profitability.”

Looking forward, he added: “Building on this momentum will be the focus for this year as we leverage the many opportunities offered by our newly expanded global platform. Confidence in the business is high and we look forward to another year of growth and success.”

Earlier this year, Sutherland reported revenues of $305m (£235m) for its last calendar financial year before the merger, up 1.3% from 2015. Net income jumped 8% to $95m (£73m), pushing PEP up to $1.05m (£808,000).

This February, Eversheds also merged with Harry Elias Partnership in Singapore, creating Eversheds Harry Elias, with more than 90 lawyers in Singapore and Brunei. Eversheds owns 33% of the venture, which enables the firm to offer local law advice to its clients.

Ranson took over as chief executive last month from Bryan Hughes, who is now set to leave the firm. Ranson was appointed to the role in October, but did not officially take up his duties until May. He was replaced as managing partner by former head of the firm’s company commercial division Keith Froud, while international managing partner Ian Gray took up a new role as executive partner.