BonelliErede is targeting further growth in Africa and the Middle East after launching offices in Egypt and Ethiopia.
The growth plans follow the opening of two offices in Cairo and Addis Ababa – the Italian firm’s first steps in the African Continent.
BonelliErede has partnered with Egyptian firm Kosheri Rashed & Riad for the launch, which is made up of five Cairo-based partners. The Italian firm’s partner in Ethiopia is Teshome Gabre-Marian Bokan.
Stefano Simontacchi, co-managing partner of BonelliErede, explained that the firm hired Boston Consulting Group to identify the opportunities in Africa.
“They made a study for us in which we asked CEOs about the opportunities, as well as analysed the competition, type of law, GDP and rate of growth,” he explained.
“Egypt was at the top of the ranking, while Ethiopia has even more growth.”
The firm is now looking at whether to launch in other destinations in Africa and the Middle East, making initial inquiries into Dubai, Iran, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa.
“We’re scouting other countries,” said Simontacchi. “We have partners who are making missions over there and waiting to see whether we should open.”
Bonelli launched its international strategy several years ago aimed at finding alternative sources of fees. The firm said it identified a number of practices, such as arbitration, which were not confined to Italian law and which would enable the firm to expand its scope.
Simontacchi compared Bonelli’s ambitions in Africa to that of “best friend” firm Uría Menéndez in South America.
“Clearly there is a mutual best benefit for the best friend entering in this investment and the other best friends,” he said.
Uría Menéndez has acquired a stake in both a Chilean and Colombian firm in the last two years, as well as one in Peru.