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Norton Rose is poaching an Allen & Overy international corporate finance expert in a bid to strengthen its presence in Asia.
Chris Moore, an assistant in A&O's Frankfurt office, left this month. He will become a partner when he joins Norton Rose's Singapore office in January. Moore's arrival at Norton Rose will push the number of the firm's partners in the Far East to nine.
Norton Rose managing partner Roger Birkby says: "Chris has particular skills in mergers and acquisitions. That is a growing area for us in South East Asia. There is a lot of market demand out there for it."
Birkby says companies are consolidating in an attempt to strengthen after the region's 1997 economic meltdown. Norton Rose has links with local firms Kanung & Partners in Bangkok and Lubis Ganie & Surowidjojo in Jakarta.
Birkby says a key step for the firm would be to re-enter Hong Kong. Norton Rose was forced out of the province in March 1999 when Johnson Stokes & Master ended its 22-year association with the firm.
Johnson Stokes insisted that Norton Rose adhere to a contractual clause preventing the firm from re-entering the island for three years after the association was broken.
Birkby adds: "We are also looking to get started in Tokyo. Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo are the major areas in the Far East."