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Frank Castiglia

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The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has amended its Listing Rules to implement changes to its admission requirements which took effect from 19 December 2016. Key changes are: increasing the requirement for profit test entities to have consolidated profits for the 12 months prior to admission from A$400,000 to A$500,000 amending the requirements to satisfy the assets test by increasing: the net tangible assets (NTA) requirement from A$3 million to A$4 million; or the market capitalisation…

New laws to replace the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act (Act) came into effect in Australia from 1 December 2015.

The reforms represent the most significant overhaul of Australia’s foreign investment regime since that legislation was introduced 40 years ago. Fundamentally, the new laws seek to balance the aims of encouraging foreign investment in Australia and ensuring continued protection of Australia’s national interest.

In some respects, the foreign investment regime has been modernised and streamlined, reflecting the Government’s commitment to creating an investment environment that recognises the need for foreign investment to support the development of the Australian economy, with changes intended to facilitate investment by foreign investors. In particular, there are increased notification thresholds, simplified definitions, broader exemptions, relaxed tracing rules and closer alignment with Australia’s takeovers regime. The new laws also codify and clarify key aspects of the Government’s foreign investment policy, to seek to provide greater certainty for foreign investors.

However, the reforms are also intended to strengthen the integrity of Australia’s foreign investment framework. There are new fees for approval applications and more onerous penalties and stronger powers for the Treasurer to make disposal and other orders for breaches.