EU decision 'felt widely'

Brexit takes a bite from Burness Paull profits

Philip RodneyBrexit uncertainty has seen profits fall at Burness Paull, the Scottish law firm, although ‘normal’ trading conditions are returning to the business.

Profits fell 3.4% to £22.6 million on a 3.9% increase in turnover to £53.3m in the year to 31 July.  

Philip Rodney, chairman, said: “Unlike most firms, our financial year runs to 31 July rather than 30 April.

“The anticipation of, and the changed circumstances brought about by the outcome of the EU referendum inevitably impacted adversely on the last couple of months’ trading and are reflected in our results.

“The decision to leave the EU has been felt widely, as can be seen from organisations reporting across all sectors of the UK business community. While there will continue to be uncertainties, we are beginning to experience nearer normal market conditions as we work with our clients to support them in these changed circumstances.”

While the results show more modest growth compared with the 38% increase over the last three years, profit margin remains high at more than 40%.

During the year the firm completed the first private rented sector deal in Scotland and led the acquisition of the Eastgate Shopping Centre in Inverness  – Scotland’s largest retail investment transaction of 2015.

It also advised US drinks giant Brown-Forman on its acquisition of BenRiach and Standard Life Investments on its sponsorship of the British and Irish Lions rugby team.

Growth was also seen in the firm’s funds and banking business.

Burness Paull made substantial investments of more than £1million in its people, systems and property.

“We believe that the technology sector in Scotland will see significant growth over the next five years,” continued Mr. Rodney. “There is also an exciting and increasing requirement for top-tier support in this sector from our growing international client portfolio.

“We have won a number of new key clients over the last year including Scottish Leather and Ecotricity.

“We were also appointed to the European Panel of Weir Group. Going forward, while it is important for us to retain our Scottish market intimacy and focus, international work – which now accounts for nearly 40% of annual turnover – is creating a number of real opportunities particularly in the US, Canada, China and Norway.” 

He added: “There’s no doubt that continued uncertainty will remain as we enter this new financial year.

“But with our Scottish market intimacy, combined with the dynamic approach and our absolute commitment to our clients, we believe that the 2016/17 financial year will certainly be one of great opportunity.” 


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