The Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and the Australian Embassy Tokyo was delighted to welcome Ashurst, a leading international law firm with a strong Asia-Pacific presence, and Deloitte, a professional services firm, who presented an overview of mergers and acquisitions between Australia and Japan in 2018. The event speakers included:
- Andrew Gauci, ANZCCJ Chair
- Brett Cooper, Austrade Senior Trade Commissioner,
- Natsuko Ogawa, Partner, Ashurst Melbourne
- Tracy Whiriskey, Partner, Ashurst Tokyo
- Shin Takenaka, Partner, Deloitte Sydney
- Yoshi Shinozuka, Manager, Deloitte Tokyo
The seminar opened with remarks from ANZCCJ Chair, Andrew Gauci. He recognised the importance of Japanese M&A with Australian firms. He reflected that M&A activity was likely to increase in the coming year, and noted the success of deals in 2018 such as Mitsui’s acquisition of AWE, Lifull Co’s acquisition of Mitula Group and Bunka Shutter acquiring ArcPac Garage Doors. He noted that it was key that law firms such as Ashurst, and Chambers of Commerce like ANZCCJ take a key role in providing good advice to Japanese and Australian companies engaged in M&A.
Following this, Austrade’s Senior Trade Commissioner Brett Cooper reflected on Australia’s economic outlook. He reported that key economic indicators, like wage growth and GDP growth, made Australia an attractive investment environment. He also reflected on some areas for growth in Australia-Japan trading relations. He highlighted Australia’s nascent hydrogen industry, agricultural investment including agtech, asset management and tourism as growth areas for Australia-Japan trade.
A panel discussion was then held between Ashurst partners, Natsuko Ogawa and Tracy Whiriskey, and Deloitte Partner Shin Takenaka and Manager Yoshi Shinozuka. The panellists reflected on trends in Japan-Australia M&A in 2018. In particular, they highlighted the role the Royal Banking Commission has had on regulatory compliance and corporate governance. There has been greater regulatory scrutiny of deals, including national interest considerations, and an increased need for Japanese companies to make sure M&A targets satisfy competition law. Lastly, the panellists touched on the importance for both Australian and Japanese businesses to invest time and resources in post-merger integration, particularly in understanding each other’s unique business culture.
The seminar concluded with a Q&A session, accompanied by drinks to welcome the coming year.
Thank you to Ashurst and Deloitte for hosting the 2018 update, and the speakers for their insights.