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M&A heats up in new financial year

M&A heats up in new financial year

Mergers and acquisition activity is set to take off in the new financial year, according to Freehills corporate M&A partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage."There is a pent-up demand for M&A,…

Mergers and acquisition activity is set to take off in the new financial year, according to Freehills corporate M&A partner Rebecca Maslen-Stannage.

"There is a pent-up demand for M&A, but the resources super profits tax (RSPT) has been a significant restraining factor. If the equity market volatility also settles down, re-energised M&A now seems inevitable," she said.

"Although the first half of 2010 was characterised by stop-start deal activity, given high volatility in equity markets and the constraints on debt availability, the appetite is there for the right deals."

According to Maslen-Stannage, the second half of 2010 will be defined by rejuvenated private equity activity and an increased momentum in the health, energy and resources, financial services and insurance sectors.

Demonstrating the renewed vigour in the M&A market, the Freehills M&A team completed three deals in as many days as the new financial year kicked off, advising the Centennial Coal Company on its $2.5 billion recommended takeover bid from Banpu Public Company Limited, CSR on the $1.75 billion sale of its sugar and renewable energy business Sucrogen to Wilmar International Limited, and Metcash on its $215 million acquisition of the Franklins supermarket chain.

Commenting on the transactions, partner Tony Damian agreed with Maslen-Stannage, saying: "If the past three days are anything to go by, the second half of the calendar year should see heightened levels of M&A activity."

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