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July 31, 2008

Kreston International cements new members in key European and Latin American markets

By Nicholas Moody

Mid-tier association Kreston International has concluded a busy round of recruitment over the past month, announcing new firms in Spain, Argentina and Mexico.

Spanish audit, accounting and business advisory network Iberaudit Auditores joined Kreston this month, becoming the association’s second member in Spain. The firm has 39 partners, about 250 professionals and recorded fee income of €18 million ($28 million) in 2007. Serving both public and private companies, Iberaudit has offices in Madrid, Badajoz, Palma de Mallorca, Caceres, Las Palmas, Coruna, Cordoba, Gijon, Malaga, Seville, Valencia, Zaragoza and Lisbon, Portugal.

Kreston International executive director Jon Lisby said he had been looking for an additional member in Spain for the past three years since a firm sharing agreement with Baker Tilly terminated.

Lisby said the association was now strong in Europe following the addition of Iberaudit Auditores and Exco France. Exco France, a network of 23 firms with more than 2,000 staff and aggregate fee revenues of $190 million, joined Kreston late last year.

“In the key markets in Europe we are now well covered although we are looking for a quality audit firm in Italy. We have six members but none of them are audit – that is our key gap in Europe,” Lisby added.

The spate of recent additions has contributed to Kreston’s notable performance over the past two years. The association’s global fee income has increased from $1.1 billion in 2005 to $1.7 billion last year. Lisby said if Kreston achieves all the acquisitions he has in mind this year it could top $2 billion – which would keep it well within the top 15 global accounting firms and associations.

In January, Kreston reunited its firms in the Caribbean, Central and South America into a single Latin America group, following two years of experimentation to find the right regional combination. Since May, the association has added new firms in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico and Argentina to this Latin American grouping.

The most recent announcement has been the addition of Buenos Aires firm Lisicki, Litvin y Asociados (LLA). LLA has more than 140 partners, professionals and support staff who provide services to both listed and private clients across audit, tax, consulting, corporate finance, transfer pricing and recruitment. In addition, LLA has a fraud and irregularities ‘whistle-blowing’ facility through its service company Resguarda.

Mexican firm Despacho Manual Duran Silva SC is set to bolster Kreston’s Mexican network. The firm is based in Mexico City and has two offices, nine partners and 240 staff. It offers audit, tax and advisory services.

The association’s Mexican network now has about 26 members and Lisby claimed the new addition could push Kreston into the top ten in Mexico.

“The development of Kreston in Mexico is along the lines of a network rather than an association,” he said. “At the moment it is an association but the Kreston firms are collaborating so closely together that although they are an association, in time they will be a national network. Our new member there is very keen and they are spread nationally but are very strong in Mexico City.”

Lisby said the association is currently in talks with four firms in Costa Rica.

Nicholas Moody

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