CMS to leverage Nabarro Sheffield base and Olswang tech focus for post-merger manufacturing push

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CMS UK is aiming to take advantage of Olswang’s technology links to win advanced manufacturing work in Sheffield, when the two firms’ merger with Nabarro goes live in May.

Nabarro already has a 16-partner office in the city and this looks set to become an important focus for the merged firm outside of London, as Sheffield attracts increasing numbers of high profile manufacturing companies.

Last week, McLaren Automotive announced plans to open a £50m manufacturing plant in Sheffield near the city’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), a collaboration between Sheffield University and aerospace giant Boeing. It carries out research for industrial partners including Boeing and Rolls Royce.

Penelope Warne, CMS UK’s senior partner and chair of the board, said: “What we’re trying to do, through the combination, is take advantage of the strength Olswang has in technology. This is relevant for the AMRC. We want to very much try to use the experience they have to take advantage of our position in Sheffield. There is a lot said about the ‘northern powerhouse’ and the need for the UK to be generally strong in manufacturing, business and industry. It’s nice to be able to have a focus out of London, as well as our very major focus in London.”

Nabarro managing partner Andrew Inkester said: “The history of our Sheffield office is in mining, energy and manufacturing. Since the decline of the coal industry, Sheffield has become a centre of excellence in its own right for advanced manufacturing. It is a mixture of manufacturing, construction, high tech engineering and design. We are trying to mirror how Sheffield has reinvented itself.”

Inkester said Nabarro already has “strong relationships” with the AMRC. Its manufacturing clients in the city include UK engineering companies NG Bailey and Primetals, a joint venture between Siemens and Mitsubishi, and British Glass. The Sheffield office also works with clients including the Medical Defence Union and the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Inkester added: “Having greater sectoral strength in technology and energy will help us extend what we can offer to clients in the north.”

According to Inkester, there are no plans to transfer any partners from other offices to Sheffield as part of the focus.

CMS UK will gain three regional UK offices as a result of the three-way merger this May. In addition to Sheffield, Nabarro also has a six-partner office in Manchester, while Olswang has a one-partner base in Reading.

CMS already has offices across Scotland in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh, which it obtained via its 2014 merger with Dundas & Wilson, as well as a seven-partner Bristol base.

Inkester said Nabarro’s Manchester office could also grow significantly in the coming years. He said: “Manchester could also grow quite a lot more. I see Manchester as the second largest English city. There are no target headcounts, but we are keen to add on good clients and grow in both Manchester and Sheffield.”