In a significant development, Australia stated, its Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) will assess all foreign investment proposals so as to prevent a distressed sale of corporate assets.
On Monday, Australia’s Treasurer Josh Frydenberg stated, the temporary reduction to zero of the deal value that triggers a FIRB review was to safeguard the national interest during the coronavirus outbreak.
“This is not an investment freeze. Australia is open for business and recognizes investment at this time can be beneficial if in the national interest,” said Frydenberg in a statement. “These measures are necessary to safeguard the national interest as the coronavirus outbreak puts intense pressure on the Australian economy and Australian businesses.”
The FIRB will work with existing and new applicants to extend timeframes for reviewing applications from 30 days to up to 6 months.
Earlier, there were no monetary thresholds in place and the requirement for FIRB assessment was dependent on the type of business involved. For example, a business acquisition worth up to $170 million (A$275 million) did not require approval from the FIRB.