Growth opportunities expected to remain strong in 2018

By Andrew Jones

27 March 2018

The general climate for investment activity has been strong in Australia. Debt and equity funding is readily available in a wide variety of forms for good quality opportunities. We are seeing strong interest from private equity funds, family offices and high net wealth private clients for investments in a range of sectors. Corporates are increasingly pursuing mergers and acquisitions to achieve their growth objectives and we are also seeing increased activity from foreign companies seeking acquisitions in Australia.

Despite recent corrections the medium-term outlook for both the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and National Stock Exchange (NSX) continues to be positive. The long-term outlook remains strong and both equity capital markets continue to provide a good opportunity for companies to list.

Our Corporate Finance team has certainly been kept busy by all this activity. We completed engagements for a diverse range of clients including Brookfield, Illion (formerly Dun & Bradstreet), Rio Tinto, Global Infrastructure Partners, Scentre and Audinate.

We helped our clients on some notable transactions:

  • Lead adviser to Tech-Link on its acquisition of Dexion, a $150m turnover business, from GUD Industries.
  • Investigating Accountant for both of Fat Prophet’s investment fund IPOs, the Fat Prophets Global Contrarian Fund and the Fat Prophets Global Property Fund.
  • Assisting Plutora with their Capital raising from Macquarie Group.
  • Lead Adviser to Furnware on its acquisition of Sebel Furniture.
  • Independent Expert and Investigating Accountant for the reverse takeover of Freshtel by Field Solutions.
  • Independent Expert for the Hastings High Yield Fund proposed takeover.
  • Independent Expert in relation to the takeover, recapitalisation and re-listing of Thorney Technologies Limited.

We also advised on some significant deals in the Newcastle and Hunter region including:

  • Lead adviser on the sale of Towers Transport, a $25m turnover business, to Followmont Transport.
  • Lead adviser to UGM on the refinancing of its debt facilities.
  • Lead adviser to Borg Industries on its acquisition of Carter Holt Harvey's Particle Board production facilities, including support with obtaining ACCC approval for the deal.
  • Vendor Due Diligence services to Fitness Passport with respect to its capital raising from The Growth Fund.
  • Assisted Aviator Capital to raise funds for its Hudson and Highpoint Funds.
  • Valuation of Steeline Group and major founding shareholder interest and subsequent negotiation of exit position. We acted for one of the founding families in what was a strained family relationship.
  • Lead adviser in valuing the interests in the Colterlec Group and completing a national rollup.
  • Lead adviser for the ACS Group on the sale of their business to Millennium Services Group as part of Millennium IPO.
  • Lead adviser in the sale of Sharp Electronics Newcastle group. Whilst acting for the owner in the sale of the business we were able to provide guidance to the management team to facilitate an MBO.

We have established a new business in Newcastle, PKF Corporate Finance Newcastle, to focus on helping businesses in Newcastle and the Hunter Region achieve their growth objectives through mergers and acquisitions, accessing equity and debt capital as well as advising on divestments and valuation matters. This business will be lead locally by Andrew Beattie and Simon Rutherford with support from myself.

If you are considering growing your business in 2018 through mergers and acquisitions or by accessing additional capital or perhaps a sale of your business, please contact one of our directors who can talk you through the options in achieving your growth objectives.