ANZ’s newly-appointed global head of corporate advisory Martin Hanrahan sees an opportunity to bank rising Asian entrepreneurs seeking to strike deals in Australia, shrugging off a recent slowdown in activity.
“The remit for this advisory team is to provide corporate advisory services for both ANZ’s clients in Australia and New Zealand, where we have a substantial banking client base, and emerging clients in Asia,” Sydney-based Hanrahan told FinanceAsia. “Our role is to assist our lending and capital markets colleagues.”
Hanrahan was appointed head on Thursday, replacing Bruce Nettleton who retired from the bank. His team will provide mergers and acquisitions advice to ANZ's international and institutional banking clients in Australia and Asia.
Among the bank's clients is billionaire Guo Guangchang's Fosun International, which last year acquired Australia-listed Roc Oil. ANZ advised Fosun and helped to structure and finance the acquisition. The Australian bank also previously advised Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics on its $1 billion joint venture with Fortescue Metals to secure high grade iron ore supply for its mill in Vietnam.
The volume of Asia ex-Japan inbound mergers and acquisitions business into Australia stands at only $3.1 billion for the first half of 2015 compared with the $11.1 billion executed in the same period of last year, according to data provider Dealogic. But, according to Hanrahan, interest from Asian companies looking to snap up assets in Australia remains keen, thanks to the country's reputation as a well-regulated and stable market.
“We are seeing a growing amount of Asian interest in Australian assets and that’s across resources, infrastructure, agriculture broadly,” Hanrahan said. “We are seeing strong interest out of China and out of neighbouring countries and the Japanese companies,” he added, citing the example of Japan Post's acquisition this year of Toll Holdings.
So the volume of inbound M&A activity in Australia could soon pick up with the help of potential jumbo deals such as New South Wales’s privatisation of utility asset TransGrid. TransGrid, which is valued at between A$7 billion and A$8 billion, is expected to attract keen interest from Chinese bidders, including China’s State Grid Corp and China Southern Power and Li Ka-shing-controlled Cheung Kong Infrastructure.
But it's not just the more established Asian names that Hanrahan is eyeing. According to him, ANZ is also looking to bank “emerging entrepreneurial companies” such as Fosun International and Beijing Capital, to which it lent to acquire Transpacific's New Zealand waste business.
Hanrahan has worked in ANZ’s industrials advisory team since 1998 and he will oversee ANZ’s corporate advisory team in Sydney, Melbourne, and Singapore, which provides M&A advice to companies, particularly for cross-border transactions.
Prior to joining ANZ, Hanrahan was managing director of Bancorp Australia Limited and also worked in corporate finance at Morgan Grenfell Australia. In his new role he reports to ANZ managing director of global loans and advisory Christina Tonkin.