Noerr achieves revenues of €250 million
Growth continues / more large-cap deals and IPOs
Noerr LLP remains on its strong growth course and significantly increased its revenues in 2018, both across the firm and in Germany. Noerr generated overall revenue of almost €250 million in the last business year, around €229 million of this in Germany. All practice groups contributed to this success.
While firm-wide revenues increased by 12.2 per cent to €249.8 million (prior year: €222.6 million), growth in Germany was even stronger, with revenues increasing by 12.8 per cent to €229.4 million (prior year: €203.4 million). Revenues at Noerr’s offices in Central and Eastern Europe were €20.5 million (prior year: €19.2 million), which means an increase of 6.5 per cent.
The firm therefore surpassed its very good result in the previous year and is continuing its long-standing growth. “Further increasing our concentration on higher-value business, we have also once again lived up to our qualitative growth target,” says co-managing partner Torsten Fett, emphasising that the firm will continue to invest in strategic growth areas and future issues.
Noerr’s successful and independent course is confirmed by the international legal press: Noerr was named “European Law Firm of the Year” both at the British Legal Awards 2018 and The Lawyer European Awards 2019, and also “Law Firm of the Year: Germany” at The Lawyer European Awards.
All practice groups successful
“All practice groups contributed to this very good result,” emphasises co-managing partner Alexander Ritvay. What is particularly visible is the further increase in the number of large-cap transactions advised on by Noerr for corporates and private equity investors. “Our expertise was in particular demanded on transactions, in conflict resolution and compliance advice, as well as accompanying IPOs,” says Alexander Ritvay.
The large-cap deals for which Noerr provided advice include the acquisition of HSH Nordbank by US investor J.C. Flowers, which was completed at the end of November. Noerr also advised the Generali Group on the sale of its life insurance division to run-off specialist Viridium, Bayer on the sale of its digital farming division to BASF and Deutsche Telekom on establishing a joint venture with EWE AG to expand its fibre optic network.
International financial investors also relied on Noerr. For example, Noerr also advised J.C. Flowers on the sale of Lunis Vermögensmanagement to youmex AG, KKR on the takeover of the Tele München Group and Universum Film, and KPS in a tender procedure for the Hymer Group. Besides this, new equity partner Holger Ebersberger is further strengthening the practice group at Noerr’s Munich office.
Noerr’s deal business strength is reflected in the firm’s renewed top positions in the 2018 league tables published by information service providers. Noerr is ranked second by number of deals in the German M&A market in the league tables of both Mergermarket and Thomson Reuters (mid-market).
Advising on IPOs and public takeovers was a key aspect of the work done by the firm’s capital markets law experts. “In 2018, we were involved in almost a third of the IPOs in the Frankfurt Stock Exchange’s Prime Standard,” emphasises Torsten Fett. These include the IPOs of the internet platforms Home24 and Westwing. Noerr is advising the Chinese group Fosun on a capital increase and the public takeover of Tom Tailor Holding SE.
Noerr also posted significant growth in representing companies and banks in court and arbitration proceedings. The firm successfully acted for Mercedes-Benz Bank AG in the first collective redress proceedings in Germany. The German Collective Redress Act has been in force since 1 November 2018.
Targeted investment policy
“Investment in our staff remains the key to success,” says Ritvay and emphasises: “As in the previous year, at the beginning of 2019 we again promoted several part-time colleagues, while at the same time younger partners took over responsibility as practice group heads.” Sophia Habbe, for example, now heads the Compliance & Internal Investigations practice group together with Torsten Fett, while Fabian Badtke is the new head of the Antitrust & Competition practice group. Annette Pospich now has sole responsibility for the Real Estate Investment Group.
The firm is also increasingly focusing on expanding its operational capabilities. “We are not just pioneers when it comes to advising on digital change, but are also strongly promoting the firm’s digital transformation and the use of legal tech to handle client cases,” says Torsten Fett. At the beginning of 2019, the firm also reorganised its support teams, strengthening the management level with experienced experts Christian Ammer, as Chief Information Officer (CIO), and Roul B. Chaudhuri, as Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
Noerr is also prepared for an unregulated withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union. The firm will in this case change its legal form from an LLP under English law to a limited liability partnership under German law (“Noerr PartGmbB”). “We need to act in the event of hard Brexit, but unfortunately there is no equivalent alternative to the LLP available in Germany,” says Alexander Ritvay. “The legislator should consider allowing lawyers to establish a limited partnership under German law (GmbH & Co. KG) in addition to the German limited liability company (GmbH) and the stock corporation (AG) or introducing the German limited liability partnership company (Part GmbH).”
On the reporting date 31 December 2018, Noerr had a firm-wide total of 544 advisors (prior year: 535, +1.7%), with 435 of these in Germany (prior year: 430, +1.2%). The firm’s total headcount on the reporting date was 1,132 (prior year: 1,110, +2%) and 942 (prior year: 923, +1.2%) in Germany.
For the coming business year, Noerr expects a further increase in demand, in particular in the strategic growth areas corporate, litigation as well as advising companies in regulated industries.