UHY International is targeting new
member firms in Japan, Eastern Europe, southern India and parts of
Latin America in the next 12 months, according to chief executive
John Wolfgang.

In a year of “fantastic” growth, the network has plugged
representation gaps in Latin America and Europe. The network has
added eight member firms this year, although Wolfgang said global
revenue growth will not reach the 20 percent mark he had previously
predicted due to a slowdown in the US market.

“I thought we were going to look at a 10 to 12 percent increase
in the US but I don’t think we will see those [targets] in 2008. We
are not operating to that level in the plan right now and I think
that has a very major impact on [global revenue growth],” he

“I think organically we are not going to see that much. If we
were to see a 6 to 8 percent growth, I think that is reasonable for
2008 financial year end,” he added. If UHY achieves 8 percent
growth its global combined revenues will rise to $658.8 million in
the year ended December 2008.

Key additions

Although this is not substantial growth, the network has managed
to grow its membership geographically, opening new revenue streams
and building a stronger network. “We have had some key areas that
we needed to add firms. One was Ireland, a very prominent place we
needed to have our presence returned. Kazakhstan is another
country, a little unusual, but it is moving further into Eastern
Europe,” Wolfgang explained. “We have added two more firms in the
Ukraine, we are just finishing up membership criteria on one of
these now.”

UHY also recently added a sizable firm in Nigeria called Maaji
& Co, with 68 professionals in Abuja, Benina, Kaduna, Hano,
Lagos, Lokoja, Maiduguri, Port Harcourt and Yola. Across the
Atlantic, the network has been recruiting heavily in Latin and
South America. In Brazil, the network recently added a firm with 65
to 70 people. There have also been additions in Puerto Rico and
Guatemala. The Guatemala firm, UHY Pérez & Co, is a seven
partner firm with 30 staff in Guatemala City.

“We have a good strength now in our entire Latin and South
America region, which has been something we have been working very
hard on,” Wolfgang said. “In that region, we have some target
markets that we are still looking at. Panama, Costa Rica and
Bolivia are our three priorities, along with our on-going Caribbean
venture in terms of trying to increase our exposure there. Puerto
Rico is a key component and we are looking at Jamaica, the Cayman
Islands and there are another couple of islands as well.”

Wolfgang explained that due to a shortage of firms it is
difficult for UHY to gain exclusivity in the Caribbean. The network
normally has a policy of one firm per country but firms in the
Caribbean are usually tied up in multiple relationships. Wolfgang
said although UHY has correspondent capabilities in the Caribbean,
full membership is proving more difficult.

Major target

The largest market UHY will focus on in the coming year is
Japan. Wolfgang explained that it is has been extremely difficult
to build a relationship with a Japanese firm.

“My sense of it is that there is an independence issue in
Japan,” he said. “They just don’t see the need or desire to link up
internationally. I think it is because a lot of the firms there are
smaller, one or two partner firms. We do have a couple of
relationships where if we do need some work done we have a couple
of folks that would do it, but it’s more on an informal basis.”

In Southeast Asia the network recently expanded its Malaysian
capabilities and hopes to secure a member firm in the Philippines
by October. UHY is also investigating options in Thailand and

Elsewhere in Asia, UHY is ploughing the subcontinent to shore up
its representation in southern India.

“We started discussions at a meeting [with UHY’s Indian firm
Chandabhoy & Jassoobhoy] in June about how to do that,”
Wolfgang said.

“They only have a couple of offices [in Mumbai and New Delhi] and we want to go further south. We originally thought [they] were
going to move into the south more aggressively but they have
decided not to do that at this point. So we may look for a
relationship that covers the southern part of India. We might add
another firm in that part of the country with the full knowledge of
[Chandabhoy & Jassoobhoy].”

Arvind Hickman