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    "Big Four" auditors hold 31% of Russian market - ministry

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    MOSCOW, June 26 (RIA Novosti) - The world's four leading auditors - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Ernst & Young, KPMG International and Deloitte - control 31% rather than 50% of the Russian market, a Finance Ministry official said Tuesday.

    Leonid Shneidman, chief of the ministry's financial control and auditing department, rejected expert opinion that the "Big Four" occupied at least half of the market.

    "It is rather a mistake to say that the 'Big Four' dominate the market," he said.

    Shneidman said revenues from auditing services made 24.1%, their share among other auditing organizations 1.5% and their audited clients accounted for 1.1%.

    He also said auditing organizations' revenues increased 14% in 2006 to 32.784 billion rubles ($1.3 billion), but added that the figures were preliminary.

    In Moscow, auditors' revenues from auditing services make up 40.7% of total revenues, 42.8% in St. Petersburg and 58.9% in other regions.

    The official also said auditor organizations with at least five years of experience equaled 68.7%, and those with less than a year of auditing activities 2.7%.

    Shneidman also said the auditing services market tended to shift in favor of smaller companies and concentrate mostly in Moscow.

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