Shares of Manchester-headquartered international law firm DWF Group plc rose about 10% on Tuesday after it published a trading update for the financial year ended April 30, 2021, showing revenue rose 13% to £338 million and adjusted profit before tax soared 120% to £34 million.
DWF said it anticipates recommending a final dividend of 3p per share, taking the total FY21 dividend to 4.5p per share.
“This is the first step towards normalising the dividend towards the target pay-out ratio of up to 70% of the group’s profit after tax,” said the law firm.
DWF also announced it acquired compliance training business Zing 365 Holdings Limited and reached an agreement to acquire BCA Claims & Consulting Limited, trading as Barnescraig & Associates (BCA), a Canadian insurance claims and loss adjusting business, to enhance its Connected Services offering.
“These acquisitions together are expected to add c.£3m of revenue and c.£0.5m of adjusted profit before tax in FY22 and are expected to be immediately earnings enhancing,” said DWF.
DWF CEO Nigel Knowles said: “This week marks the first anniversary of my tenure as CEO and I am delighted with our results which show significant improvement on the prior year and a strong performance in their own right.
“We have grown the business, transformed our profitability, improved our operational efficiency and strengthened our balance sheet notwithstanding the impact of COVID-19 during the year.
“These results are testament to the resilience, dedication and excellence shown by our colleagues right across the business.
“Since my appointment last year, we have emphasised the importance of a ‘one team’ approach and it is paying off.
“We have very clear differentiators versus the rest of the legal sector: we are the only main market listed global legal business, we have a unique client proposition which offers integrated legal and business services, and in Mindcrest we are the only law firm to own a market leading alternative legal services provider.
“This significant global addressable market supports our confidence that we can continue to deliver strong growth in all of our markets, both organically and through acquisitions.
“We have continued to align our global businesses with our core strategy — reorganising operations in Australia, which is expected to be earnings enhancing, and striking new exclusive associations with firms in Singapore and South Africa.
“We already have established relationships and fee earning work is underway with these two firms and we see promising opportunities for more.
“We launched our new global operating structure on 1st May which will bring efficiencies to our business and enhance our ability to combine the services of our Legal Advisory, Mindcrest and Connected Services to deliver bespoke solutions to our clients with greater efficiency, price certainty and transparency.
“Our results reinforce the confidence we have in the execution of our strategy.”