The year in numbers

£0m

Turnover

0

New acquisitions since 2019

0%

Average employee increase since 2019

A word from our CEO

“We are delighted with the performance of the Group for the year and that the business has continued to trade profitably and
remain cash positive throughout the new financial year. This would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and understanding of all of our colleagues, whose wellbeing remains our highest priority.

“In FY20 we continued to invest in the growth of the Group through strategic headcount increases and four diversification acquisitions. The Group performed well and in line with market expectations until COVID-19 impacted at the end of February 2020. When countrywide restrictions were introduced in early March, many of the Group’s mandates were put on hold and, like most businesses, we experienced an unexpected and sudden reduction in revenue.

“As a people business with a cost structure aligned to forecast revenue, and with little time before the end of the year for cost
mitigation measures to take effect, this reduction in revenue, during our critical Q4, immediately impacted our profitability. We took swift action to mitigate this, whilst taking great care to protect the long-term growth prospects of the Group, which are of utmost importance to all our stakeholders. We believe that it is crucial to the sustainability and future success of our business that we maintain capability and capacity, even if this impacts our profitability in the short term.

“The Group is benefitting from cost savings resulting from new ways of working introduced during lockdown, and we will capitalise on these and other operational gearing potential to improve margins in the longer term, and to strengthen further the resilience of our business.

“On a gradually improved trajectory, year to date activity levels are circa 7% down on the previous year. The Group has traded profitably and cash positive throughout the new financial year."

2020 Experian Market IQ

M&A Advisor League for H1 – ranked no 1 nationally across the UK

Business Culture Awards 2019

t-three were awarded Best Talent Development Programme (partnering with Sainsbury’s)

Employee engagement survey 2020

An employee engagement score of 82% vs 65% UK private sector average

British Legal Awards 2019

UK Law Firm of the Year

A word from our CEO

“We are delighted with the performance of the Group for the year and that the business has continued to trade profitably and
remain cash positive throughout the new financial year. This would not have been possible without the commitment, dedication and understanding of all of our colleagues, whose wellbeing remains our highest priority.

“In FY20 we continued to invest in the growth of the Group through strategic headcount increases and four diversification acquisitions. The Group performed well and in line with market expectations until COVID-19 impacted at the end of February 2020. When countrywide restrictions were introduced in early March, many of the Group’s mandates were put on hold and, like most businesses, we experienced an unexpected and sudden reduction in revenue.

“As a people business with a cost structure aligned to forecast revenue, and with little time before the end of the year for cost
mitigation measures to take effect, this reduction in revenue, during our critical Q4, immediately impacted our profitability. We took swift action to mitigate this, whilst taking great care to protect the long-term growth prospects of the Group, which are of utmost importance to all our stakeholders. We believe that it is crucial to the sustainability and future success of our business that we maintain capability and capacity, even if this impacts our profitability in the short term.

“The Group is benefitting from cost savings resulting from new ways of working introduced during lockdown, and we will capitalise on these and other operational gearing potential to improve margins in the longer term, and to strengthen further the resilience of our business.

“On a gradually improved trajectory, year to date activity levels are circa 7% down on the previous year. The Group has traded profitably and cash positive throughout the new financial year."

Some of our 2019 highlights

2020 Experian Market IQ

M&A Advisor League for H1 – ranked no 1 nationally across the UK

Business Culture Awards 2019

t-three were awarded Best Talent Development Programme (partnering with Sainsbury’s)

Employee engagement survey 2020

An employee engagement score of 82% vs 65% UK private sector average

British Legal Awards 2019

UK Law Firm of the Year

Financial results

Our group total revenue grew by 6.1% in the year, whilst our revenue from core legal service lines grew organically by 3.5% and rose by a further 2.6% through acquisitions made during the year. Further strategic diversification of the Group’s service offering through four acquisitions and  ongoing investment in technology and systems in order to support the Group’s growth ambitions. 

Acquisition update

Our acquisition strategy is primarily focused on both legal and specialist consultancy services business targets which fit seamlessly into our market-focused Platforms of complementary service lines, supplementing our core legal services offering and differentiating our business. Our plc status and established reputation help us to attract and incentivise first class professionals to help us develop these Platforms from which we sell multiple services collaboratively.

FY20 was another busy year in the expansion of the Group, and I am pleased that we completed all planned deals prior to the onset of COVID-19 and the UK lockdown. Those new businesses to join the Group during FY20 are as follows:

Persona Associates (July 2019) - one of the UK’s longest-established and leading land referencing consultancies, advising on some of the UK’s largest infrastructure and regeneration projects. This business is now fully integrated into Gateley Hamer;

t-three (December 2019) - offers services and products to businesses that enable them to develop their senior people and effect cultural change within the business itself. Together with Kiddy & Partners, we now offer one of the largest specialist Human Capital consultancy businesses in the UK;

Gateley Tweed (March 2020) - offers specialist legal services in reputation management and media law, with offices in Belfast and a presence in Dublin and London. The acquisition expands our offering in media law, reputation management, privacy and brand protection and presents cross-selling opportunities into Tweed’s existing and future client base. In addition, the acquisition has strengthened our position in the Irish professional services market providing a base in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland from which we can offer broader legal services and allowing for growth and expansion in Belfast, where Gateley Capitus are already established, as well as a number of Gateley Legal Construction lawyers; and

Gateley Vinden (March 2020) - a specialist business offering corporate advisory, dispute resolution and consultancy to the built environment, property and construction markets. The acquisition has strengthened our Construction team and added weight to our corporate advisory, dispute management and resolution expertise. Target acquisitions will allow us to create new Platforms, building on our existing legal services lines around which we can aggregate complementary consultancy services. Ultimately, our business will offer a balanced range of legal and related professional services, which will make us indispensable to our clients, create more opportunity for our people, differentiate us from our competitors and make us more attractive to our investors.

Offering a complete service package on public inquiries into, although not limited to, renewable energy, planning, compulsory purchase orders, transport and highway projects.

Specialists in people, leadership development and behavioural change.

Specialist, multi-jurisdictional advice on reputation, media and privacy.

Specialist, corporate advisory, dispute resolution and consultancy to the built environment.

Looking forward

“Gateley is a resilient, diversified business that has a demonstrable track record of growth, delivered through numerous economic cycles. The business has a strong management team, a collegiate culture and a clear strategy to expand the breadth and depth of its service lines, via our “Platforms”, which are sector focused and bring together our increasing range of complementary legal and consultancy services. 

“The Board is confident that the Group has more than sufficient resources to withstand the pandemic, to return to prior levels of profitability and to grow from there. We fully expect Gateley to emerge from this crisis in a strong position, well placed to capitalise on both organic and acquisition opportunities, as we continue to focus on long term growth that rewards our people and delivers attractive returns to our investors. 

“We embrace the future with confidence.”
Rod Waldie, CEO & Partner 

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