Moores Rowland South Africa firm
joins Mazars Group

A large chunk of the former Moores Rowland International (MRI)
member firm in South Africa has joined Mazars Group, greatly
enhancing the globally integrated firm’s coverage in Africa.

The merger adds 320 professionals, including 21 partners, and
fee income of about €11 million ($15 million) to the Mazars Group.
Offices in Johannesburg, Durban and Paarl have joined, representing
a significant slice of the MRI firm, although several other MRI
offices that have not yet joined are considering a move in the near
future.

The combined entity will operate under the name Mazars Moores
Rowland and represents the first step of an ambitious plan to
become the fifth-largest firm in South Africa. According to the
recent IAB South Africa survey (see IAB 415),
Mazars Moores Rowland’s fee income of €11 million would place it as
the tenth-largest firm overall.

Mazars Moores Rowland is the group’s first official member firm in
the country, although the two parties have been working together on
international assignments for a number of years. Once it became
clear last year that the Moores Rowland International network was
disbanding to form Praxity, Mazars Group president Patrick de
Cambourg told IAB, discussions between the group and the
MRI firm began. Mazars is a founding member of the Praxity alliance
and already works closely with several other former Moores Rowland
International firms across the world.

de Cambourg said: “We knew that the quality of the work was good
and we also had invited some of them to attend our conferences for
them to understand how we operate. We developed a common vision of
the international scene and in particular of South Africa. This is
step one and it is a very important one – we have a very good group
of partners and an excellent senior partner in Hilton Saven.”

Top five

Mazars Moores Rowland harbours ambitions to grow the firm even
further and become part of the top five in the country. This will
involve a combination of merging the rest of the former MRI
offices, seeking acquisitions from other networks and growing
organically.

de Cambourg explained: “The next steps are the other Moores Rowland
firms in South Africa, including Pretoria, Durban, Bloemfoentein
and Port Elizabeth. They are fully aware that the other firms have
taken the name of Mazars Moores Rowland… and they have also taken a
decision in principle to join the band in the 12 months to
come.”

If the additional offices do join Mazars, it will boost total staff
numbers in South Africa to 500 professionals and fee income to
about €17 million.

Senior partner Hilton Saven said joining Mazars would enhance the
firm’s service to clients as well as provide international training
and opportunities for staff. “It gives us access to resources,
technical expertise and people development initiatives which will
enable us to further extend our capabilities. We believe the appeal
of this will further develop our pool of potential managers and
partners,” he said.

African expansion

Across Africa, Mazars has a presence in several French-speaking
countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Cameroon,
Madagascar and Benin. The group said it recently added the
fifth-largest firm in Egypt and there are plans to expand into
Congo, Gabon and Algeria.

Also in the pipeline, de Cambourg added, is a possible move for
three firms in southern countries.

“The South African firm has a long-standing relationship with three
firms in southern Africa, in Lesotho, Botswana and Zambia,”
explained de Cambourg. “So the door is open to them to join the
integrated approach in this part of the world. We are talking about
an additional 200 to 300 people. Africa is sometimes a continent
that is considered as going through a difficult period of time but
we prefer to consider the medium to long term. They are very good
people, very good firms and very good businesses there. Obviously,
South Africa [is] a pivot for the Mazars development in the
southern part of this continent.”

Africa is one of three regions the group has earmarked for
significant expansion in its current global strategic plan, the
others being Asia-Pacific and Latin America. Globally, de Cambourg
estimates, Mazars has grown about 20 percent in terms of fee income
in the past year. Staff numbers have risen from 5,600 to 8,500 in
the same period.

Arvind Hickman