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15 April 2021

Revenue growth at Garrigues slowed by Latin America exchange rate headwinds

Spanish giant says it has emerged 'stronger' from Covid-19 as 2020 revenue rises by 1.4% to €386.9m

By Madeline Anderson

Photo of Garrigues executive chairman Fernando Vives

Garrigues executive chairman Fernando Vives Image courtesy of Garrigues

Revenue growth at Garrigues slowed in 2020, with Spain’s largest law firm pointing to the impact of a 'sharp' decline in Latin American currencies due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firm-wide income edged up by 1.4% to €386.9m, following a more robust 4.4% rise in 2019. On a constant exchange rate basis, however, revenue grew by 3.6%.

It has operations in countries including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru with its overseas network accounting for 13% of its 2020 revenue.

Garrigues executive chairman Fernando Vives said the firm had emerged “even stronger” from the uncertainties caused by the pandemic, commending the work of the firm’s network of 2,125 professionals across its 32 locations in the face of the year’s “large-scale and global challenges."

The firm pointed out that it had refrained from adopting Covid-19 mitigation measures such as layoffs, salary freezes or reductions and had instead chosen to focus on attracting and retaining talent within its international network.

It added that its response to the pandemic was helped by an investment of €55.1m over the last five years in its digital transformation, which included the channelling of 3.1% of last year’s income into digitalisation and innovation projects. 

In terms of practice areas, the firm’s corporate and commercial departments led the charge, accounting for 33.7% of revenue for the fiscal year.

The firm topped the legal adviser rankings by numbers of mergers and acquisitions in Spain and Portugal, ending 2020 with a total of 161 deals worth €15.28bn, according to a report from business intelligence platform TTR. 

The number of M&A transactions in Spain was down considerably as a result of the pandemic, but the firm maintained its leading position by closing 135 deals in Spain worth €14.42bn, accounting for 16.5% of the Spanish total for the year. 

Moray McLaren, co-founder of Lexington Consultants, said: "There is a general sense of relief that the Spanish legal market performed far better than many people had expected at the outset of the pandemic. Now, many of the main business sectors in Spain are restructuring so law firms are busy tapping into that. But there's still some nervousness about what's going to happen over the next 12 months."

Top German independent Noerr also unveiled its financial results this week and reported a 7.6% rise in revenue to €271.6m. Like Garrigues, however, its results were impacted by its overseas offices with those in Central and Eastern Europe experiencing a decline in revenue.

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