City firm Trowers & Hamlins has opened an office in Cairo, making it only the second UK firm to set up shop in Egypt.
Inside sources say the office will be part of the firm's “completely integrated” Middle Eastern practice, which includes 25 lawyers in the firm's four Gulf offices.
Cairo will be Trowers' first African base. Early indications are that the firm will focus on projects.
Martin Amison, head of international projects at Trowers, says: “There is a substantial market for independent power projects in Egypt.”
He says the Egyptian economy is growing, and his firm will be looking at privatisations as well as projects as sustained development continues in the country.
The Cairo office must now be registered with Egyptian authorities. Amison says the firm has entered into a formal association with local firm Nour Law Office.
David Wilson, head of the Cairo office, is currently visiting Egypt on a fact-finding mission. Senior associate Sara Hinton is already based there.
Denton Hall is the only other UK firm in Cairo. It inherited Fox & Gibbons' Cairo office last year when Fox & Gibbons was swallowed by Denton Hall. Partner John Miles of Denton Hall says: “It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's not a hardship post.”
Miles says Denton Fox & Gibbons has started recruiting to Cairo. Corporate lawyer Mark Howell is moving out this week.
Michael Doble, Middle East managing partner at Denton Hall, said the Egyptian market was poised for take-off when the firm first opened there in October last year.
But Miles admits: “You are not going to make huge amounts of money there.”
But he says there are opportunities with big gas discoveries and diversified tourism indicating economic growth.