South Africa top five

The Cape Town and Port Elizabeth offices of
BDO and Grant Thornton are to merge in a move that will cement
Grant Thornton’s position as the largest mid-tier firm in South

BDO has 19 partners and directors in Cape Town
and Port Elizabeth with 207 staff and total revenue of ZAR90
million ($12 million). Grant Thornton has 12 partners and directors
in Cape Town and Port Elizabeth with 127 staff and revenue of ZAR44

As a result of the merger, Grant Thornton
South Africa will have annual revenue of ZAR400 million, which
represents 31 percent growth since its figures were published in
the International Accounting Bulletin’s 2009 South Africa
survey. The firm will have 840 staff in seven offices.

“BDO has a larger and established presence in
the Cape Town market and we’re delighted to be joining forces with
them,” Grant Thornton Cape Town managing partner Deryck Woolley

BDO South Africa recently re-organised its
practice into two separate firms, resulting in BDO Cape, which has
Cape Town and Port Elizabeth offices, and a second firm with
offices in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban called BDO SA.

BDO SA is not involved in the merger and the
loss of ZAR90 million would mean BDO’s annual revenue in South
Africa would drop to about ZAR175 million.

Shared leadership

The combined offices in Cape Town and Port
Elizabeth will be led by joint managing partners Ian Scott, who
came from BDO, and Neil Miller from Grant Thornton. The joint
senior partners will be Grant Thornton’s Deryck Woolley and James
Salmon, who was formerly from BDO.

Scott, who was the managing partner of BDO
Cape, said combining the firm’s strong market position with Grant
Thornton’s established name and intellectual property merges the
relative strengths of each firm.

“Both practices share a focus on privately
held business and believe in client proximity and personal partner
attention as a differentiating approach. The needs of clients,
staff and other stakeholders have guided this process throughout,”
he added.

Grant Thornton South Africa national chairman
Leonard Brehm said the merger represents a major step in the firm’s
strategic growth plans.

“It will create a more richly resourced firm,
with a superior client offering and it will significantly
strengthen our market position relative to the Big Four,” Brehm


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