Punongbayan&Araullo (P&A) and Navarro Amper& Co (NA&Co), the member firms of Grant Thornton International and Deloitte in Philippines respectively, have agreed to merge.

In a statement the firms said they have signed a memorandum of agreement, which will lead to a definitive one, with the aim of combining"their respective professional practices" in the Philippines, effective July 2014.

In the meantime the two firms said they will conduct due diligence work and set up an integration plan to" ensure a smooth, seamless transition".

The merged firm, PunongbayanAmper& Co (PA&Co), will be a member firm of Deloitte, and once the merged is finalised, it will be one of the top firms in the country with annual revenues of PHP1.2bn ($26.8m), according to the firms.

Ben Punongbayan, founder of P&A, has been appointment chairman of the merged firm. And Greg Navarro, former managing partner and chief executive of NA&Co, will hold these very same positions within PA&Co.

MarivicEspaño, current P&A chairperson and chief executive, will be the deputy managing partner. PA&Co will have 34 partners and more than 1,000 employees, the firms said.

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"This merger is a key part of our strategic growth plan and we will continue to look for similar strategic opportunities in emerging and high growth markets,"Deloitte Southeast Asia chief executiveChalyMah said.

Punongbayan said the merger would bring benefits to their clients, who"will have access to the resources and service capabilities within the Deloitte global network" and also to their own people, who"will benefit from the opportunities to grow their careers in a bigger firm".

Punongbayan also thanked Grant Thornton International for its support during their long-lasting partnership.

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Navarro Amper& Co