International firm Hogan Lovells has announced a merger with South African firm Routledge Modiset. 

The combination will take effect from 1 December with Routledge Modise expected to rebrand and relaunch as Hogan Lovells in early 2014.

Its Johannesburg office will comprise 120 lawyers, including 40 partners, focusing on corporate, commercial, litigation, mining and employment work.

The firm’s client base will range from South African government departments and state-owned companies to domestic organisations.

A spokesman for Hogan Lovells said a physical presence was a priority for the firm, with the Johannesburg office seen as a regional headquarters for legal work across sub-Saharan Africa.

David Harris, global co-chief executive of Hogan Lovells, said: ‘Africa is an extremely important market for our clients and to us as a firm. A significant number of our clients have an interest or a presence on the continent and with Africa’s substantial natural resources, expanding economies and growing consumer base, the level of interest will continue to increase rapidly.

‘We already have a very active and successful Africa practice which currently has over 40 lawyers based in the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.’