Foreign Investment in Australia

With our strong economy, stable political environment and close proximity to key markets within the Asia Pacific, Australia is an attractive destination for foreign investment, and offers abundant opportunities for overseas investors looking to expand their business. 

Clayton Utz's Foreign Investment team provides an integrated end-to-end solution to offshore investors looking to invest in Australia, whether it is by establishing a local Australian subsidiary or acquiring an interest in an Australian company or asset.  

Our knowledge of the needs of foreign investors comes from our long history of working with internationally-based clients on their inbound transactions ‒ including the necessary review process and regulatory approvals ‒ across many industry sectors, including energy and resources, real estate, infrastructure, financial services and agribusiness. 

That knowledge informs not only our advice for clients, but our practical guide for overseas investors considering investing in Australia, Doing Business in Australia, covering Australia's economic, legal and regulatory environment. 

See Doing Business in Australia

Establishing operations in Australia

Foreign companies entering the Australian market need advisers who bring the benefit of having walked these paths many times before.  Representing numerous multinational clients, our Corporate advisers offer the strategic foresight and a comprehensive understanding of the Australian legal, regulatory and operational environment to ensure your start-up in Australia is a success.

Getting the structure right from the beginning will set you up for long-term success. We can walk you through the laws and regulations affecting your Australian business operations, and compliance with Australian legislation and tax considerations. There may also be a range of industry-specific legislations that can impact on your business in Australia.  The areas that we commonly advise foreign companies on include taxation, competition and consumer protection, employment and industrial relations, and intellectual property.

Experience

Isuzu Ute Australia: advised on establishing its Australian subsidiary and regulatory issues regarding car dealership arrangements with various car dealers nationwide

Confidential client: advised a US-based retail client with employment related matters when setting up operations in Australia.

Confidential client: advised a public Japanese retail holding company on employment matters regarding its venture into Australia.

Australian foreign investment regulatory framework

Australia's foreign investment rules and framework may at times appear complex and challenging, however it is a relatively painless process and our Foreign Investment team have guided many international companies successfully through the process. 

In Australia, foreign investment is regulated by the Foreign Acquisition and Takeovers Act 1975 (Cth) (FATA) and the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is responsible for examining foreign investment proposals and making recommendations to the Federal Government. As the trusted Australian Counsel to many international clients, our transactional experts understand the key drivers to secure a successful outcome and obtaining FIRB approval on your investment in Australia as marked by the recent deals and transactions that we've been involved in.   

Experience

Accel Partners: legal adviser to the US-based technology venture capital firm on its A$128 million investment in ASX and NZX listed online accounting software provider, Xero.

Arthur J. Gallagher: advised NYSE-listed international risk management and insurance broking group AJG on the acquisition by group subsidiaries of Wesfarmers' insurance broking and premium funding operations for over A$1 billion.

Barrick Gold Corporation: Australian Counsel to Barrick Gold Corporation on its approximately C$7.3 billion bid to acquire ASX and TSX listed Equinox Minerals Limited.

Biostime International Holdings: legal adviser to Hong Kong-listed Biostime on its A$1.67 billion acquisition of Swisse Wellness Group Pty Ltd.

Bright Ruby: advised on the A$442 million acquisition by China-based Bright Ruby of the Hilton Sydney Hotel. This transaction is significant as it was one of the largest ever hotel deals in Australia.

China Investment Corporation: advised on the A$2.5 billion acquisition of the Investa Property portfolio. This is the largest Australian direct property acquisition ever.

Chubu Electric Power: advised on its equity investment in, and significant long term LNG off-take arrangements from, the Ichthys LNG Project.

Japanese consortium: representing a Japanese corporation on its competitive bid to acquire 100% interest in Supagas Victoria's whole business. This competitive sale process required FIRB approval, which was successfully obtained.

Japan Post Co., Ltd: Australian Counsel to Japan Post on its A$6.5 billion bid to acquire ASX-listed Toll Holdings.

Khazanah Nasional Berhad: advised on the acquisition of 100% of the issued share capital in AFS Diary Company Australia Pty Ltd. 

Corporate and tax structuring

Our Taxation team works closely with our Corporate Advisory lawyers to support the needs of our international clients on investment issues and taxation structures for their inbound Australian projects, acquisitions and investments.

We have advised foreign groups on investments in Australia, Australian-based structures, treaty benefits, GST implications, exit transactions, raising debt and equity funds in Australia, transfer pricing, taxation of Australia-sources profits and gain realisation in Australia.

Experience

Confidential client: advising a Philippines investor on the structure and ongoing operation of a proposed joint venture investment into the proposed privatisation of various Victoria infrastructure property assets.

Confidential client: advised the Australian subsidiary of a NASDAQ listed techology company on the purchase of business assets of a New Zealand Corporation and a related partnership operating in Australia.  This involved dealing with the US parent company and their US and NZ legal advisers on innovative tax structure to manage the acquisition. 

See Taxation

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