Norton Rose halves German turnover with Cologne sale

Norton Rose halves German turnover with Cologne sale” />Norton Rose has seen its German turnover cut in half following the completion of talks that see the firm’s Cologne office move to CMS Hasche Sigle.

In one of the biggest lateral moves in Germany since Norton Rose took on the Cologne branch of collapsed firm Gaedertz in 2001, Hasche Sigle has acquired 17 partners and 43 associates, plus 65 support staff and the building. The deal was completed on 23 December and the lawyers began work at Hasche Sigle on 1 January.

Norton Rose’s 2001 merger with Gaedertz gave the firm a springboard from which to build a German capability. The demerger of Cologne leaves it with offices in Frankfurt and Munich, which have finance and corporate practices respectively.

Norton Rose’s German operation has been beset by turbulence since the Gaedertz merger. In early 2002, the firm saw the loss of nine partners from the Cologne office, including the property and construction team.

Norton Rose now has just 15 partners in Germany, and the loss of Cologne will mean a drop in turnover of around e20m (£14.1m) from last year’s e44.2m (£31.1m). Hasche Sigle, meanwhile, recorded a turnover of e135.4m (£95.4m) and could well see that rise above e150m (£105.7m) with the new office.

For Hasche Sigle, Cologne adds another office in the Rhine and Ruhr region, which is currently served only by Düsseldorf. Managing partner Cornelius Brandi called the corporate practice of the office a “natural fit” for the firm’s clients.

Norton Rose chief executive Peter Martyr said: “It’s been a perfectly amicable arrangement. The underlying reason is one of business alignment.”

Martyr added that the firm has no plans to withdraw from Germany and insisted that it wants to continue to grow in Frankfurt and Munich.