Norton Rose eyes Sweden as Ashurst takes the plunge

Norton Rose eyes Sweden as Ashurst takes the plunge” />Norton Rose is sending a promotional taskforce to Sweden to build its profile in the country just as Ashurst confirmed its Stockholm launch last week.

Norton Rose will travel with the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in January to drum up business for AIM, presenting to financial and legal advisers as well as to corporates in the hope that it, too, can win business.

Frankfurt-based Norton Rose banking partner Tomas Gärdfors, who joins a team of London-based corporate finance lawyers on the mission, said: “There’s definitely a dual purpose. Sweden’s a buoyant market and much of the work corporates do is cross-border.”

The firm has acted for Scandinavian Airlines and shipping company Stena in the past. Norton Rose has no offices in Scandinavia and is not planning any as yet, but it enjoys a referral relationship with 140-lawyer Stockholm firm Lindahl.

AIM has been on several overseas promotional tours this year, including jaunts to Paris and California.

More than 250 foreign-incorporated companies are now listed on AIM and, according to its statistics, the total market value of overseas companies has leapt by 181.6 per cent in the past 12 months.

But only two Swedish companies, Jumpit and XCounter, are listed. Bird & Bird, which has a 37-lawyer Stockholm office, advised on XCounter’s IPO, while Dechert advised on Jumpit’s admission.

Norton Rose’s interest in Sweden follows Ashurst’s, which confirmed its merger with Stockholm M&A boutique AJB Bergh last week, as reported on www.thelawyer. com (5 December).

Ashurst has a longstanding relationship with AJB Bergh. The firms have worked on several deals together and share a number of clients, including private equity house Cinven.

The tie-up, which will be effective from 1 January, will add 17 lawyers to Ashurst and give the silver circle firm its first Scandinavian capability.