Obtaining Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) approval is a threshold issue for inbound investment into Australia. Although historically FIRB approval was seen as a bit of a ‘rubber stamp’, the increased focus of the Federal Government on the regulation of foreign investment, including the imposition of fees, greater penalties for breaches and improved compliance mechanisms, means that it is more important than ever to get the right advice – early.
Whether you operate a local business and are seeking investment from overseas, or a foreign investor looking to acquire an interest in an Australian business, company or assets, an understanding of the FIRB notification and approval requirements is vital.
Inbound investment is regulated by the FIRB which determines whether to allow certain foreign acquisitions of interests in Australian companies, assets or businesses. Acquisitions will be prohibited if they are found to be contrary to the Australian national interest. Foreign government investors (including sovereign wealth funds, government pension funds and other government controlled institutions) face even more strenuous FIRB notification and approval requirements.
Our FIRB legal team draws on expertise in resources, food and agribusiness, mergers and acquisitions, property, finance and taxation to provide practical FIRB advice and assistance. We deal regularly with FIRB in gaining approval for foreign investment and this close contact provides us with a detailed understanding of how the complex rules and regulations are applied in practice.
We continue to stay at the forefront of developments and government policy so that we can advise our clients on the current law and policy, as well as the prospects for change that may impact on proposed investments.
Our expertise and current experience means we are across these issues and ensures your application has the best chance of success within the existing legal and policy framework.
To find out more, contact Duncan Bedford
International student accommodation developer and manager
Obtained numerous FIRB approvals for the acquisition of both development sites and established facilities. Successfully obtained fee reductions of $560,000 and $210,000 for two particularly complex acquisitions.
Consolidated Pastoral Company
We deal with all FIRB related issues for one of Australia’s largest foreign land owners, including those relating to acquisitions, leasing, reporting and capital raising.
Obtained FIRB approval for the acquisition of a $425 million Sydney harbour-front property for development into a five star hotel.
World Class Land
Obtained developer pre-approval for the sale of 100% of developed apartments to foreign buyers for multiple residential developments.
ASX listed property developer
Obtained a five year FIRB exemption certificate for a program of land acquisitions (including residential, commercial and agricultural land) for the purposes of residential development.
Complex resources sector transactions
Obtained FIRB approval for a two phase sale of a large existing mine and associated assets. Successfully argued an aggregation of the transaction, reducing the fees from potentially in excess of $200,000 to $27,000.
Assisting large listed entities with complex ownership structures to correct the record with FIRB, ensuring compliance while avoiding penalties.
Successfully lobbied for change of regulations relating to characterisation of commercial residential premises, in circumstances where the GST legislation was inconsistent with the FIRB policy objectives.