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September 29, 2009

RSM Saudi firm predicts fast g

By Nicholas Moody

RSM International has admitted a fast-growing independent Saudi Arabian firm to its membership.

Alsabti & Bannaga CPA has 12 staff, three partners and provides external and internal auditing as well as financial and business advisory services. The firm is headed by senior partner Abdelgadir Bannaga, an industry veteran with 30 years of experience.

Bannaga said he expects the firm to post annual revenues of $1 million to $1.5 million in the year to 30 September 2009.

The firm was established in 2007 by Bannaga, formerly a senior partner with KPMG’s Saudi Arabia firm, and two others. Bannaga’s firm had been associated with KPMG since 1994, before a change in corporate governance led him to set up the new firm. From 1977 to 1990, Bannaga was also affiliated with Ernst & Young.

Alsabti & Bannaga CPA has offices in Riyadh and Jeddah and plans to open an office in Damman by 2010. Bannaga said about 20 percent of Saudi’s top 1,000 companies are based in Damman.

Bannaga predicts the firm could grow by about 50 percent every year for the next five to seven years, based on its growth over the past two years and the buoyant nature of the Saudi economy.

He said although some Saudi investors had been hit by the global financial crisis, the country’s economy has only been slightly affected, with its oil wealth and continued foreign investment remaining strong.

Bannaga also hopes growth will come from attracting some of his former KPMG audit clients now the firm has an international affiliation.

IPO work, administered by the Capital Markets Authority in Saudi Arabia, and stable business flowing from large family companies also presents a big opportunity, according to Bannaga.

Alsabti & Bannaga CPA’s admission adds to RSM International’s presence in the Middle East, which includes member firms in Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The network also has correspondent members in Algeria, Afghanistan, Iran and Jordan.

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