Keshni Maharaj

Clayton Utz
Partner Sydney

Keshni Maharaj is a dedicated stamp duties practitioner.

With over 15 years' experience working on some of the largest corporate transactions in recent Australian history, Keshni understands the stamp duty aspects of a wide range of business activities. 

Keshni's expertise includes advising on the stamp duty issues associated with the syndication of property trusts, corporate reorganisation, business and asset acquisitions and disposal, private public partnerships, project finance, infrastructure development, IPOs, insurance duty, private equity acquisitions, listed and unlisted trusts, securitisation and dispute resolutions with the Revenue authorities.

Keshni's track record as the lead stamp duty advisor includes the acquisition by Macquarie Bank Limited of Esanda assets from ANZ,  and the acquisition of nine office towers by China Investment Corporation from Investa Property Trust for $2.4 billion, which at the time was the largest commercial real estate transaction in Australian history.

Notable Work
  • Macquarie Bank Limited: Keshni advised on all stamp duty aspects of Macquarie Bank Limited's acquisition of the assets forming part of the Esanda business from ANZ Banking Group.
  • APLNG:Keshni advise APLNG on Queensland related stamp duty issues in respect of APLNG's acquisition of a company which held ATP's from Origin Group.
  • China Investment Corporation: Keshni advised on CIC's acquisition of nine office towers in Australia from Investa Property Trust in what was the largest commercial real estate transaction in Australian history. The deal value was $2.4 billion.
  • Charter Hall Limited and Charter Hall Funds Management Limited - Property acquisitions: Keshni regularly advises Charter Hall and Charter Hall managed funds on stamp duty issues across all jurisdictions.  More recently Keshni has advised Charter Hall on the establishment of its new wholesale fund WPS N1, the Deep Val Partnership Trust and also on its acquisition of the Chifley Tower Trust from GIC for approximately AUD $1 billion.  Keshni also provides Charter Hall with stamp duty advice on an ongoing basis in relation to intra-fund property transfers, the setting up of new funds and in relation to capital raising.
  • Saputo: Keshni advised Saputo in relation to its acquisition of various dairy farm assets from Murray Goulburn.
  • Western Sydney University: Keshni advised Western Sydney University on the stamp duty aspects of the development of a new precinct in Parramatta in joint venture with a private entity.
  • AXA Group: Keshni advised AXA Group on its acquisition of 3 hotels in New South Wales and 1 hotel in the ACT in 2019 for approximately $230 million.
  • Qatar Investment Authority: Keshni advised on the QIA's acquisition of units in a large wholesale unit trust. The advice involved Victorian landholder duty and Queensland trust acquisition duty and whether the investment would affect the Fund's status as a wholesale unit trust in Victoria and Queensland. 
  • New Forests: Keshni advised on the stamp duty aspects of the acquisition of the Great Southern Forestry assets as well as on the acquisition of Gunns Timber Products and other Gunns assets from the Receivers and Managers. This included making detailed submissions to the Victorian, Tasmanian, Western Australian and South Australian Commissioners. More recently, in 2019 and 2020 Keshni has advised New Forests on its acquisition of forestry assets in Western Australia and Tasmania.  
  • Woolworths: Keshni advised on Woolworths' $120 million acquisition of various hotels across New South Wales which involved complex lease and transfer arrangements. 
  • Private Equity: Keshni has advised private equity clients on acquisitions (advised PEP on all stamp duty aspects of its $220 million acquisition of Peters from Nestle). This included advising on the stamp duties legislation across all jurisdictions, and attending to lodgements of the transaction documents across all jurisdictions in Australia.
  • QSuper: Keshni advised QSuper on changes of trustee and custodians for its business across all jurisdictions in Australia..
  • NBN Co.: Keshni advises NBN on stamp duty matters relating to its roll-out of the national broadband network and its acquisition of assets from Telstra and other providers.
  • 360 Capital: Keshni advised on the acquisition of the Becton property funds management business and has provided ongoing advice in relation to a series of restructures across the funds management platform.
  • New Forests forestry funds: Keshni advised in relation to the establishment of various forestry funds (including the Green Triangle Forest Trust)) and in relation to the acquisition of various property and forestry assets.
  • Barangaroo Delivery Authority – Barangaroo Project: Keshni advised on the stamp duty aspects of the Barangaroo Project.
  • Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA) – Darling Quarter: Keshni advised on the $500m Darling Quarter redevelopment project which involves the development and construction of a mixed-use (commercial, retail, cultural, recreational and entertainment) development located on the former Sega World site at Darling Harbour. 
  • NSW Treasury: Advised the NSW government in relation to the stamp duty issues surrounding the development of Barangaroo South.
  • Commonwealth Government:  Advised in relation to the development of the second Sydney airport at Badgery's Creek for over $2 billion.
  • Parramatta City Council: Advised Parramatta City Council on the stamp duty aspects of the development of Parramatta Square.
  • Large listed property group: Keshni advised a large property group (involving unit trusts) on stamp duty issues arising in a capital raising, acquisition of assets, wholesale unit trust schemes in Queensland and landholder duty in South Australia and Western Australia.
  • NAB, CBA and ANZ: Keshni has advised key lenders on all aspects of mortgage duty on various transactions, including on enforceability of securities, reviewing securities to ensure that historical stamping was done correctly before lender's appoint receivers and managers.
  • Bright Ruby Resources Pte. Limited - Hilton Hotel Sydney: Advised on stamp duty in relation to Bright Ruby's acquisition of the Hilton Hotel in Sydney for $440 million in 2015.
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