Louisiana accounting firm LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand CPAs plans to expand its presence to Texas by merging in Houston CPA firm Hidalgo Banfill Zlotnik & Kermali PC.

The combined firm will retain the LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand name and add HBZK’s Houston office to LaPorte’s offices in New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Covington, La.

The transaction is expected to close once the due diligence process has been completed. The combined firm will have a total staff of 160 people and revenue in excess of $23 million.

“This merger —  part of our firm’s long-term growth strategy —  allows LaPorte to expand our geographical footprint along the Gulf Coast and to more fully serve our clients with offices in both Louisiana and Texas,” said LaPorte president and CEO William “Ted” Mason in a statement.

He noted that HBZK’s oil and gas industry specialty would add a new dimension to his firm. HBZK’s real estate development and construction practices would also complement LaPorte’s Louisiana practice, enabling the combined firm to better support business expansion and economic recovery efforts in the Gulf Coast.

HBZK dates back to 1949 and specializes in tax, audit, assurance and consulting services for oil and gas companies, construction firms, financial institutions, real estate developers, wholesale and retail operations, and nonprofit organizations.

LaPorte has been cited by Accounting Today in 2008 and 2009 as one of the Best Accounting Firms to Work for in the U.S., and as one of the Top 10 Firms in the Gulf Coast in 2009. The firm is an independently owned member of the McGladrey Alliance. In addition to traditional accounting and tax services, LaPorte’s specialty services and industry expertise include financial services, law firm management services, health care, government, nonprofits, construction, hospitality, family-owned businesses, real estate, business valuation, estate planning, benefits and compensation plans, internal controls, forensic accounting, and litigation support.

As part of the merger, HBZK principals Harold G. Hidalgo Sr., James M. Banfill, Naushad A. Kermali, and Douglas Hidalgo will become directors in LaPorte. “We are pleased to be joining our firm with LaPorte Sehrt Romig Hand in a strategic move that provides an opportunity for our firm to grow in strength, depth and continuity,” said Harold G. Hidalgo Sr. “With the resources that LaPorte brings, we will be able to serve new and existing clients with more specialized industry expertise and provide state-of-the-industry technical advice and consulting through the international reach of the McGladrey Alliance.”

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