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Audit practice acquisition turns Russell Bedford Italy into a full-service consulting group

Russell Bedford International - the global network of independent accounting, audit and consulting firms - has announced the acquisition by its Italian member of a rival network's local audit practice in Rome.

Established in 1989, Russell Bedford's Italian member, Studio Internazionale, is now one of the fastest growing multi-discipline consulting groups in Italy.

The decision to acquire the audit business is the firm's response to developments in the Italian market - characterised by the difficulties facing the Big-4 following the recent Parmalat and Cirio scandals - which have opened up business opportunities to entities able to enter aggressively into the audit sector.

The acquisition brings three new audit partners, one new tax partner and ten more support personnel. It was executed through the incorporation of a separate audit company to help comply with the requirements of the proposed revised Eighth Directive on statutory audit in the European Union. Following the group's reorganisation, the audit company will have three partners and ten staff; the tax/legal consultancy will have five partners and 24 staff.

Future plans include the opening of a Milan office to support the firm's client base in the region, which includes public organisations and enterprises, some of them listed on the Milan Stock Exchange.

The group has international clients headquartered in Europe (some of them listed on the London Stock Exchange), USA and elsewhere, and provides local consultancy support to foreign investors developing their businesses in Italy.

Commenting on his firm's strategic move, partner Maurizio Lauri explained: "We are now one of the few independent Italian groups able to provide a comprehensive accounting, audit, legal and tax service to corporate clients, offering them a real alternative to the Big-4, with the added bonus of international support through the Russell Bedford network."

December 2004