Noerr increases turnover to more than €207 million
Noerr LLP continues to grow, for the first time generating turnover of more than €200 million across the firm during the 2015 financial year. The firm was particularly successful in the strategic growth areas Corporate/M&A and advice to companies from regulated sectors. Noerr is acting as lead counsel in an increasing number of cross-border transactions. Moreover, with a legal opinion on the subject of Industry 4.0 prepared for the Federation of German Industries (BDI) in 2015 the firm highlighted its leading role in the provision of legal advice on the digital revolution taking place in industry.
Turnover across the firm rose by 5.3 per cent to €207.7 million (from €197.2 million in the previous year). Growth in the German market was even stronger, where the firm generated €190.2 million and increased its total revenue by 6.9 per cent (from €177.9 million in the previous year). In contrast, at its offices in Central and Eastern Europe the difficult economic climate put a strain on the firm’s business activities, with turnover falling by 9.3 per cent to €17.5 million (against €19.3 million in the previous year).
“During 2015, we continued to consolidate the enormous growth in turnover over the last few years and were able to achieve healthy growth within the projected range. Overall, we have grown by around 50 per cent since 2010,” says Co-Speaker Dr Tobias Bürgers. His Co-Speaker Dr Alexander Ritvay adds: “The increasing strong demand for services in our strategic growth areas once again underlines our approach of pursuing qualitative growth and investing in profitable business fields.”
More large transactions
Again, Noerr achieved its most notable increases in turnover from Corporate/M&A and advice to companies from regulated industries such as banks, energy, telecommunications and insurance companies. Key factors fuelling the expansion in the Corporate/M&A area were the growing number of instructions from the DAX sector and an enhanced involvement in particularly high-volume transactions – especially in the real estate area – in the billion-euro range.
For example, Noerr advised Vonovia SE on the takeover of the SÜDEWO Group (transaction volume €1.9 billion) in 2015 and worked for Austrian company Signa-Holding in connection with the bidding process for the department store chain Galeria Kaufhof. The firm also assisted Deutsche Telekom in several M&A transactions in 2015, and advised the group on the sale of T-Systems DDM to Regiocom and its takeover of 7,700 mobile towers from Telefónica. Other significant instructions included advice to the Finnish Elektrobit Group regarding the sale of its automotive segment (1,900 employees) to Continental AG and to Volkswagen Financial Services on the takeover of mobility service provider sunhill technologies.
The advisory activities of the Capital Markets practice group also accounted for a significant share of the firm’s above-average growth. Noerr’s capital markets experts assisted companies such as Aurelius on the conversion of the holding company into an SE & Co. KG in 2015 and recently advised ODDO SEYDLER on the IPOs of Deutsche Konsum Grundbesitz and biotechnology company Brain.
Focus on cross-border transactions
“In the past business year, Noerr also took on the coordinating role of lead counsel in an increasing number of multijurisdictional transactions,” points out Ritvay. A team from Noerr just recently advised Allianz Real Estate on the formation of a 500 million euro joint venture with property developer VGP and coordinated the transaction in all the markets involved. Noerr offices in Central and Eastern Europe were also closely involved in the mandate. Overall, the role of cross-border business is gaining in importance for Noerr, representing a share of 75 per cent of transactional business.
Highlights of the firm’s instructions in the regulatory segment include the extensive advice provided to an industrial consortium consisting of Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total on the establishment of a network of filling stations for hydrogen in Germany and the formation of the joint venture H2 MOBILITY Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG. Other significant recent mandates include the firm’s advice to Areva on the sale of its radiation measuring technology division to Canberra and advice to Veolia on the takeover of Nuon Energie und Service.
Advisors on the digital revolution of the economy
In addition, the Employment practice group and advice in the information technology field saw above-average growth. Deutsche Telekom relied on Noerr’s IT experts during the sale of t-online to Ströer, as did Talanx in connection with next-generation IT sourcing to IBM Deutschland GmbH.
“With our expert report prepared on behalf of the Federation of German Industries, ‘Industrie 4.0 – Legal challenges of digitalisation’, we highlighted our leading role as providers of legal advice on the digital revolution of the economy,” says Bürgers. Bürgers stresses that with its integrated approach to legal advice, bringing together fields such as data protection, IT und IP, Noerr enjoys an excellent position in the market.
Investments in quality and efficiency
“We will continue to invest in our strategic business fields during the ongoing business year as well,” underlines Ritvay. He explains that alongside promotions of the firm’s own lawyers to partnership, this also includes selective reinforcement by lateral hiring. Last year, there was a moderate increase in headcount overall. A total of 517 professionals were employed at Noerr as at 31 December 2015, representing a plus of 2.2 per cent (compared to 506 in the previous year). In Germany, the number of professionals rose by 3.2 per cent to 420 (compared to 407 in the previous year). The firm had a total of 1,097 employees (a plus of 1.3 per cent compared to the previous 1,083) at year-end, with 921 of these based in Germany (a plus of 1.9 compared to the previous 904).
Noerr also intends to invest in building up its operational capabilities. There is a noticeable focus on the subject of legal project management. “Nowadays, qualitative growth requires more than just professional excellence,” says Bürgers. The efficiency-related aspects are moving to the fore when law firms are engaged as lead counsel, especially where cross-border transactions are concerned.
The firm’s successful strategic course was also confirmed by several awards from specialist publishers in 2015. Noerr was named “Law Firm of the Year Antitrust”, “Law Firm of the Year IP” and “Law Firm of the Year Trademarks & Unfair Competition” at the JUVE Awards. On an international level, Noerr received accolades from Chambers (“Germany Law Firm of the Year 2015”), The Lawyer (“Law Firm of the Year 2015: Germany”) and American Lawyer (“Global Dispute of the Year: U.K. Litigation”).
Noerr expects growth in the mid-single-digit range for the current business year.