Cheshire East Council

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Gateley set to become first law firm to float on AIM stock exchange

National commercial law firm Gateley has announced that it intends to become the first legal practice to float on the AIM market.

The firm, which became an alternative business structure in 2014, has more than 380 fee earners across six offices in England and an office in Dubai.

Its practice areas including advising organisations in the social housing & regeneration, not-for profit and public services sectors.

In a statement the firm’s board said it believed that “the combination of the new ABS, the transition from an LLP to a PLC and first mover advantage through the proposed AIM listing, will provide a platform to expand and diversify its business”.

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This would be through moves such as the recruitment of lateral hires (whether individuals or teams), the acquisition of legal and other complementary businesses and the creation of a more flexible career structure.

Gateley said it had, over the last ten years, grown its revenue by a compound annual growth rate of 14.3% and operating profit by 14.8%, “with strong cash generation and a typical cash conversion of 95% every year over the last three years supporting both growth aspirations and an attractive dividend policy”.

All 81 selling partners are locked in for five years “demonstrating long-term commitment and alignment to the Group’s performance”, it added. The partners will become salaried partners and hold 50.1% of the PLC’s enlarged share capital.

The firm’s affiliated Scottish practice, HBJ Gateley, which has three offices in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow, is independent of Gateley and excluded from the proposed stockmarket listing.

Michael Ward, the firm’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Gateley is a successful, fast growing and entrepreneurial legal services group which operates in a rapidly changing marketplace. We believe the catalysts for value creation are now to acquire, incentivise, differentiate and where sensible diversify. These opportunities for growth will undoubtedly be most accessible as a PLC and we want to be the first to be able to take advantage of them.”

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