find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Lawyers scout for 'asset tourists'

Lawyers scout for 'asset tourists'

"Asset tourists" from overseas are scoping Australia for bargain prices and debt-laden portfolios ripe for investment.

“ASSET tourists” from overseas are scoping Australia for bargain prices and debt-laden portfolios ripe for investment.  

The trend, in which foreign companies target the Australian market to scoop up the best deals, is giving law firms an increasing amount of work in foreign investment, M&A, and property and construction.  

Minter Ellison this week claimed a major deal for its corporate and construction teams in Japanese housing developer Sekisui House’s finalised deal to buy a 75 per cent stake in a $190 million portfolio of landholdings in both New South Wales and Queensland.  

“Australia is becoming an ‘asset tourist’ location,” corporate partner Martin Bennett, who works in Minters’ Sydney office said in an interview with The New Lawyer.  

“As the market goes through these various paces it does represent opportunities for other players internationally that have cash and are looking for returns they may not be getting elsewhere in the world,” he said.  

Sekisui House, Japan’s largest housing developer, has entered into a joint venture with ASX listed Payce Consolidated Limited, acquiring a majority interest in development sites are Homebush Bay in NSW and Ripley Valley in Queensland.  

The company had identified the gap between supply and demand for residential housing in this market, Bennett said.  

The deal was a significant coup for Minters, which was handed the client by a former Minter Ellison lawyer, Andrew Merriot, who worked with the firm 10 years ago and now works with Allen & Overy in Tokyo. Merriot contacted Nicole Green, construction partner and another lead partner on the deal, telling her of Sekisui’s proposed entry into the Australian market.  

It is a new client for Minters, but the deal is just the first of a series of transactions Sekisui is planning, Bennett said.  

The deal represents a growing market for foreign investors, or asset hunters, in the Australian market.  Cash-laden investors are capitalising on opportunities as Australian developers, in particular, rush to offload parts of their portfolios.  Bennett said. “They thought it was good timing because the Yen is very strong against the Australian Dollar, and also our property values are … I wouldn’t call it depressed, but they are a bit low.”  

South African investors are leading the charge on property and development opportunities. The country’s largest property trust, Growthpoint, announced this week that it had completed a $200 million deal to recapitalize the Orchard Industrial Property Fund.  

Last month another South African investor, Kirch Group, picked up a 27.4 per cent stake in Abacus Property Group. Meanwhile, the Oman Investment Fund invested $31m into property developer Becton in Melbourne.  

With the consolidation in the industry it is inevitable there will be further acquisitions, both directly as land buy-outs and in the real estate investment trusts, some of which are under stress at the moment, said Bennett. 

The trend is a welcome one for construction and property lawyers whose work has dried up in recent months as projects either collapse or are shelved. 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Lawyers scout for 'asset tourists'
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice, ALA, right-to-die law
Oct 24 2017
‘Right-to-die’ laws would be a relief for terminally ill: ALA
The passage of an assisted dying bill through the lower house of Victorian Parliament has been haile...
Oct 24 2017
Diversity top of agenda for future WA Law Society president
The advancement of diversity in the Western Australian legal profession will be one of the key items...
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...