Southfield, Mich. (June 30, 2004) -- Regional powerhouse Plante & Moran PLLC said it expects to close its pending merger with AFME -- a firm specializing in manufacturing operations -- within the week and is now exploring markets such as Cincinnati in an effort to build out its stronghold in the Great Lakes area.


“We want to be the great firm in the Great Lakes,” Plante & Moran managing partner Bill Hermann told WebCPA. “A lot of firms are trying to replicate what we’re doing in terms of geography."


The AFME merger comes on the heels of Plante’s recent marriage with high-profile Chicago firm Gleeson, Sklar, Sawyers and Cumpata, which became official May 1. Gleeson, which generated roughly $17 million in 2003 revenue, added seven partners, eight directors and three offices to the union.


P&M this month signed a letter of intent to merge with Nashville, Tenn.-based AFME, which specializes in management, quality standards and turnaround strategies for plants and manufacturing operations.


“We had done some project work with them before,” explained Hermann. “As you work together you see a lot of similarities and we thought there would be a nice synergy.”


Hermann added that with Plante’s current Ohio offices in Columbus, Dublin and Lancaster, the firm is looking at the Cincinnati area, which if a deal was struck, would complete its network of Ohio offices.


Hermann said that although the firm recently opened an international location in Shanghai, near-term strategies would be more localized. “What we do from a geographic footprint is relatively incremental. As our client reach gets broader and evolves beyond accounting, you’ll see more affiliations and joint ventures,” he said.


-- Bill Carlino

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