ASX listed Slater & Gordon reported Australian revenue for 2017/18 of $159 million. Shine Lawyers reported (Aus and NZ) revenue of $179 million. Slater & Gordon’s revenue is based on including only continuing operations, and on this basis it is down by 12.2% compared to the previous year.
When research company IBISWorld examined the personal injury market in May 2018, it estimated that the market share for personal injury work was Slater & Gordon 9%, Maurice Blackburn 9% and Shine Lawyers 6%. Interestingly, 79% market share is held by numerous small firms across the country, according to IBISWorld.
IBISWord also reports that Maurice Blackburn generated $215 million revenue in 2017/18 with 997 employees. That makes it the largest of the three compensation firms and according to IBISWorld, the tenth largest privately owned law firm in Australia.
With the further shrinking of Slater & Gordon during 2018, and the growth of Shine Lawyers, the three major personal injury firms could have increasingly similar market shares.
Slater & Gordon has been shrinking its wages bill. Excluding redundancy costs, it is 18.5% lower than the previous year.
The amount that Shine and Slater & Gordon spent on marketing in FY18 was almost identical at around $12 million.
It was only in 2015/16 that Slater & Gordon reported revenues of more than $900 million. Since then it has discontinued, sold and separated out the UK division and various areas of non-personal injury law in Australia.
Slater & Gordon made a loss of $29 million (before tax) in 2017/18. Although it is listed on the ASX, the shares are hardly traded and closely held by its private equity rescuers.
The three way race between Maurice Blackburn, Shine Lawyers and Slater & Gordon will also be fascinating from a different perspective: a competition between three different ownership styles, private equity, a ‘partnership’ and a publicly listed firm, although it should be pointed out that a large percentage of Shine’s shares are still controlled by its founders.