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July 31, 2008

Grant Thornton re-enters Poland by securing large HLB member

Grant Thornton International (GTI) intends to appoint HLB Frackowiak i Wspolnicy as its new Polish member. The firm has 12 partners, 255 staff and replaces the former Grant Thornton member, which merged with BDO Numerica in June.

Frackowiak i Wspolnicy reported fee income of PLN31.7 million ($15.1 million) in the year ended June 2008, which amounts to 33 percent growth on its previous financial year.

“We have almost doubled the fee income that we had two years ago,” Frackowiak i Wspolnicy chief executive Tomasz Wroblewski said. “We reached it without any mergers and acquisitions. According to our current business plan this year, we will bring a double-digit increase of about 25 percent in the next financial year.”

In this year’s International Accounting Bulletin Poland survey, Frackowiak i Wspolnicy was the eighth largest professional services firm although Grant Thornton said it is the sixth largest audit firm.

The firm audits nearly 15 percent of public companies and has offices in six cities. It also provides accountancy, tax advisory and business advisory services. Grant Thornton’s previous member firm was smaller in size, reporting revenue of PLN8.1 million for the year ended December 2007.

Wroblewski said the firm decided to join Grant Thornton because more of its clients run international businesses and the activity of foreign investors within Poland is also growing.

“We believe that we can meet the requirements and needs of these companies by combining our established local expertise with the benefits of being part of a strong and cohesive global organisation,” he explained.

In light of Grant Thornton’s previous member firm defecting to its rival, BDO Numerica managing partner Kristoff Zorde told the International Accounting Bulletin he would like to see more mergers between the two largest mid-tier networks. But Wroblewski said Grant Thornton was not interested in becoming part of a ‘Big Five’.

“At Grant Thornton,” Wroblewski said, “we believe that clients are not interested in having the next Big Four style firm. What is more, investors, regulators and the media are demanding greater choice among accountancy networks.”

Frackowiak i Wspolnicy is expected to officially join Grant Thornton within weeks.

Arvind Hickman and Carolyn Canham

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