Fri, 24 May 2013
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Simmons cites market turbulence as it trims Abu Dhabi and Dubai
It's not a case of good business; it's a case of real people affected by bad management (and not by HR managers, by partners). Simmons, Norton Rose, Trowers and others have suffered from misjudging a market they all should have known better. They each backed the wrong markets (Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, projects etc) and failed to change because it was convenient for the incumbents not to so and and management in London were too lazy or daft to see it coming.
Now they are in no state to benefit from the improving market and, indeed, are still going backwards when they should be seeing improved revenue and profit. Instead, the US firms have seen the opportunities are are moving in to replace these failed smaller operations, making even less likely Simmons et al will survive.
It will be interesting to see whether the US practices can get it right and challenge the hegemony of the likes of Clifford Chance, A & O and Clydes. The US firms have the advantage of strong US ties in Saudi but will find it difficult to crack Dubai, which will reman the business hub of the region well into the forseeable future.
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