Doing Business in Australia

In the media

Indonesians seek a stake in Aussie cattle – The Australian [23.08.2013]

Indonesian Vice-Minister of Trade Bayu Krisnawurthi wants to see greater Indonesian investment in Australia’s primary industries, including owning cattle stations, as part of closer beef-industry ties between the countries. Speaking at the IndOz Beef Investment and Trade Forum in Brisbane Mr Krisnawurthi said the suspension of the live-cattle trade between Australia and Indonesia in mid-2011 had led to a loss of trust of Australian industry in Indonesia.

Barrick to sell three Aust mines – Business Spectator [22.08.2013]

Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp has said it will sell three Australian mines to fellow miner Gold Fields Ltd for about $US300 million. Barrick said Gold Fields will purchase its Yilgarn South assets however the sale is subject to clearance by Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board.

SYD restructure heats up global pension fund battle – Financial Standard [17.08.2013]

Sydney Airport will raise the foreign investment cap from 40% to 49%, as part of a move to simplify its ownership structure. This move will open the now 100% publicly-listed company to more foreign investment. Currently, 26% of Sydney Airport is owned by foreign investors, including some of the world’s largest pension funds.

Tycoon Goh Geok Khim takes stake in Domain Principal Group – The Australian [17.08.2013]

Asian tycoon Goh Geok Khim’s Singapore-listed investment company has taken a near half stake in top Australian residential aged care services player Domain Principal Group. G. K. Goh Holdings Limited unveiled the deal to take a 47.62 per cent equity stake in Domain with the interest being bought for $136.7 million from two trusts run by AMP Capital.

How we see China’s investment in Australia – The AFR [15.08.2013]

Despite the fact that Chinese direct investment accounts for less than 3 per cent of total annual foreign direct investment (FDI) in Australia, some political players continue to exploit fears about China for electoral gain, and are talking about tightening the settings governing foreign investment. However on balance, there is an acceptance of Chinese FDI in Australia among much of the population, so long as certain commitments and conditions are met by potential acquirers.

Acquisition and Investment opportunities

Sector

Ownership

Value

Turnover

Profitability

1

Road transport company (logistics servicing the FMCG and Agricultural sectors)

Private company with vendor retiring

 Upon enquiry

A$50m

High

2

Paperboard Packaging

Private company with vendor retiring

 Upon enquiry

A$80m

High

3

Automotive Manufacturer (OEM)

Private company

Long established second generation

Upon enquiry 

A$30m

profitable

4

Automotive (after-market) & Building Products manufacturer

Private company with operations in US and UK

A$100m+

Upon enquiry 

Upon enquiry 

5

Managed Web-hosting

Established / trading company

Offering 20% holding for $2m

Upon enquiry

Upon enquiry

6

Waste Treatment and Sanitization

Start – up with patents over technology.

Seeking Capital of $10m – $15m

N/A

N/A

7

Hospitality – Hotel

Development / non-trading

Funding of approximately $60m is sought to develop 5 star hotel in Lorne

N/A

N/A

For more information on any of these acquisitions or investments please contact Warren Scott on wscott@millsoakley.com.au or on +61 9605 0984

Recent Transactions

Mills Oakley continues to work on a number of interesting and diverse matters involving international parties and assets. Amongst our recent deals are the following:

Stonewall Resources Limited:Advised Stonewall Resources Limited (ASX: SWJ) in respect of the sale of its South African Subsidiary Stonewall Mining Pty Limited to Shandong Qixing Iron Tower Co. Ltd dated 7 May 2013. The deal announced to the ASX values Stonewall Mining in excess of US$140 million.Augut Clean Energy Pty Ltd:Advised Augut Clean Energy on its joint venture with Wasabi Energy (ASX: WAS). This included Augut receiving convertible bonds which are to convert into Wasabi New Energy Asia (WNEA) shares and the parties jointly exploiting the Kalina Cycle power plant in Asia.

Ampliphi Bioscience Corporation: Advised US headquartered biotechnology company, Ampliphi Biosciences Corporation (FINRA OTC Bulletin Board: APHB.PK), on its scrip for scrip acquisition of Australian company Special Phage Holdings Pty Ltd.

Lifestyle Industries Group Pty Ltd:Advised Lifestyle Industries on the sale of their wholesale footwear business which involved the exclusive right to distribute Keen footwear (US footwear) in Australia.Skyzone Franchise Group:Assisted US based Skyzone Indoor Trampoline Park on their Australian expansion via a master license agreement with Strike Entertainment.

Coachair Holdings Pty Ltd: Advised on and prepared all documentation for Coachair Hong Kong Limited in connection with the sale of its joint venture interest to its joint venture partner Auto Parts Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Undisclosed: Acted for a U.S. based global industrial company on establishing its Australian operations and its first acquisition of an Australian competitor.

Australian law and policy

Foreign investment in Australian property – a step towards a more open approach

As a general rule, foreign investments in Australian urban and rural land must receive the prior consent of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).  Under The Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth), the Treasurer may unwind acquisitions and impose heavy fines in respect of transactions that proceed without the approval of the FIRB.

In a recent and much welcomed move, the FIRB has relaxed its rules in respect of Australian Real Estate Investment Trusts (A-REIT).  From now on, private foreign investors will not be required to notify the FIRB if they acquire passive interests in A-REIT provided that their assets consist predominantly of commercial, industrial and retail property.

This is a small progress.  The exemption’s thresholds are 10% of units in a listed trust and 5% of units in other public trusts.  However, there are some (limited) cases in which even acquisitions below the relevant threshold will not be considered “passive interests”.

In any event, this reform will allow foreign investors to gain easier access to a market which has consistently outperformed the Australian domestic equity market in recent years and which will most likely continue to offer relatively secured income streams in the near future.

The Corporate Advisory team at Mills Oakley can help you in:

Contact Us

Warren Scott   Partner

Direct Line: (03) 9605 0984

wscott@millsoakley.com.au

 

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