Grant Thornton profits strong in tough climate

Elizabeth Fournier
PROFESSIONAL services firm Grant Thornton will announce a slight dip in profits in its UK business this morning, a year after income at the firm leapt by 40 per cent.

Pre-tax profits at the firm were £75.2m in the year to 30 June 2011, down 0.7 per cent from the record £79.9m they hit last year after cost cuts and one-off gains from its merger with Robson Rhodes saw profits spike.

“Revenues and profits have held up to last year’s exceptional results despite a difficult economic backdrop,” chief executive Scott Barnes told City A.M. “We were budgeting to come in slightly lower so are very happy with the results.”

The firm’s forensics and investigations services were its star performers, posting a 17.7 per cent growth in revenue. Assurance also grew over the year, up 2.8 per cent to £122.3m, but tax fell slightly to £91.7m, extending last year’s drop.

Corporate finance revenues fell 5.7 per cent, which the company attributed to a reduction in its government, infrastructure and advisory business following government spending cuts.

However, Barnes also said the firm had recently been appointed on a three-year contract to advise the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on its new manufacturing advisory service.

Barnes said that over the next year Grant Thornton should start to see gains coming through from its recent acquisitions of both Blair Endersby’s entire portfolio of Individual Voluntary Arrangements and of Smart consulting from LECG. He expects both to “have an impact” on next year’s figures.

He added that the firm remained on the lookout for more potential acquisitions “on an opportunistic basis”, with a particular focus on finnical services.

Average profit per partner at the firm rose for the second year in a row, climbing to £342,000.