Japanese Activity in Australia Intensifies
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Japanese Activity in Australia Intensifies

Japanese Activity in Australia Intensifies

Our 56th Joint Business Conference in October attracted a record number of attendees – continuing the uptick in bilateral interest we’ve seen in recent years. Some further developments that highlight growing business opportunities are outlined below.

MOUs: Seeds of Future Activity

Our Sydney conference was an ideal opportunity for two Japanese companies to announce MOUs with the New South Wales Government. The first involves Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) entering into an agreement to develop Western Parkland City and Western Sydney Aerotropolis – signalling their intention to work with Japanese and global clients ‘entering or expanding their presence in Australia.’ The second is Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI). Their MOU is to ‘provide a range of solutions for energy management and other technologies utilising MHI’s products and services’ for the Western Sydney development. Hitachi will further provide cooperation in ‘state of the art precinct design and social infrastructure services,’ as will the Urban Renaissance Agency(UR) in relation to planning and development – its mission is to create cities of beauty, comfort and safety.

Meanwhile, in a bilateral scientific cooperation MOU, the CSIRO joined with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) ‘to promote technical cooperation concerning unconventional resources as well as carbon dioxide capture, utilisation and storage’ plus ‘supporting technology for the hydrogen value chain.’ JOGMEC works to ensure the supply of energy and resources from overseas under the government’s future forecasts.

Japanese M&A in Australia Continues Unabated

Fuji Oil: Japanese food industry group Fuji Oil (which specialises in the production of oils and fats, bakery ingredients and soy) acquired Victorian chocolate manufacturer Industrial Food Services (IFS) earlier this year. This acquisition is part of Fuji Oil’s strategy to have a global manufacturing footprint; it now has 16 manufacturing locations in 10 countries. This is yet another example of Japanese businesses diversifying their domestic / overseas sales mix; another player in Japan’s chocolate industry, the Hokkaido-based Royce’ Confect. Co Ltd, established an office in South Australia in 2013.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation: At the end of October, Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation announced their proposed acquisition of Colonial First State (CFS) Group’s global asset management business for approximately AUD$4billion. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation has an existing alliance and shareholding in AMP Capital Investors, and CFS is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Misawa Homes: With Australia experiencing strong population growth, it’s no wonder Japanese house building companies see it as an attractive market. The two largest companies, Daiwa House and Sekisui House, have been active here for some time; in 2015, Misawa Homes, joined them. This month, Misawa acquired a 51% interest in the Queensland builder, Homecorp Constructions Pty Ltd.