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• Major boost to NSW personal injury market share
• Forecast full year revenue of $25m, total consideration $35m
• Business to be fully integrated

Slater and Gordon Limited (ASX: SGH) announced today that it had agreed in principle, subject to executed documentation and final due diligence, to acquire New South Wales personal injury litigation firm Keddies Lawyers for $35 million.

The acquisition of Keddies, which has forecast full year revenue of approximately $25 million and EBIT of approximately $8 million, will be a major boost to Slater and Gordon's goal of increasing its share of the New South Wales personal injuries litigation market. The acquisition is expected to be EPS accretive from year 1.

"We've said from when we listed that leading the consolidation of the Australian personal injuries market was a prime aim for us, with Queensland and New South Wales the main targets,” Slater and Gordon managing director Andrew Grech said. "Our recent acquisition of Trilby Misso has gone a long way towards our market share goals in Queensland and now the Keddies acquisition will give us a huge lift in New South Wales, in particular in greater western Sydney."

"After the Keddies acquisition we'll be the clear market leaders and have strong, efficient bases for further growth in each of the eastern states, which represent around 85% of the national personal injuries litigation market,” Mr Grech said.

Keddies practises exclusively in the area of personal injuries litigation. It currently operates from four locations in New South Wales (Redfern, Ashfield, Liverpool and Wollongong) and it also has an office in Brisbane.

The Keddies business will be fully integrated into Slater and Gordon within as short a time frame as possible. The Brisbane and Wollongong offices will relocate to the existing Slater and Gordon offices in those locations. The Keddies Redfern, Ashfield, and Liverpool offices will be rebranded and together with Slater and Gordon's existing Parramatta office, become hubs for Slater and Gordon's personal injuries practice in western Sydney.

"Full integration allows us to maximise the efficiencies to be gained from bringing two substantial personal injuries practices together,” Mr Grech said.

Transferring staff would operate in accordance with Slater and Gordon's rigorous National Practice Standards.

Keddies Partner Scott Roulstone welcomed the opportunity for Keddies to become part of a bigger network.

"This is an amazing opportunity for our business, which started in 1977 with less than 10 staff,” Mr. Roulstone said.

The transaction is subject to the execution of a formal agreement and further due diligence, but is expected to be completed by mid January 2011. The $35 million consideration will comprise $3.7 million in shares, the take-up of Keddies' approximately $11 million debt and the balance in cash with some of the cash component deferred for up to 30 months. The share component is subject to three to five year escrow periods.

While there is close to sufficient capacity in Slater and Gordon's existing debt facility to fund the transaction, the company has negotiated an increased facility of $95 million with its current financiers Westpac Banking Corporation. The higher limit will enable Slater and Gordon to consider other growth opportunities as they arise.

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