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Robert Austin
|Senior Legal Consultant

Robert (Bob) Austin held an academic position in the fields of equity and company law at the University of Sydney from 1969 to 1990, becoming Professor (1984) and Head of the Department of Law (1985). He has continued to teach part-time in the postgraduate program, with emphasis in recent years on corporate takeovers, fundraising and corporate governance.

He was a partner with Minter Ellison from 1990 to 1998. He was a member of the Takeovers Panel from 2001 to 2006. After serving as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales from 1998 to 2010, he has returned to full-time legal practice as a Senior Legal Consultant with Minter Ellison, and is Head of Minters' Corporate HQ Advisory Team.

He is co-author of Ford's Principles of Corporations Law, the leading Australian corporate law text (with Professor Ian Ramsay), and Austin and Black's Annotations to the Corporations Act (with Justice Ashley Black).

He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Law, and an active member of the Corporations Committee of the Law Council of Australia.

Since his return to Minter Ellison in July 2010, Bob has become legal adviser to some prominent corporate boards. He has:

  • provided legal advice on major transactions;
  • advised on major corporate litigation;
  • advised on the adequacy of corporate protocols and procedures, including management of conflicts of interest and duty, and post-Centro audit committee procedures; 
  • advised corporations on restructuring in response to regulatory (especially APRA-related) change;
  • helped companies through their AGMs;
  • advised on many specifically corporate law issues (e.g. directors' duties, retirement benefits, dividends, remuneration reporting, meeting procedures);
  • advised responsible entities, trustees and managers on conflicts of interest and duty;
  • personally made presentations to boards on legal issues of topical concern;
  • as Head of Corporate HQ Advisory, been responsible for leading Minter Ellison's highly successful corporate governance unit.

Baosteel/Aurizon joint off-market bid for Aquila Resources Limited

Advised Baosteel Resources Australia on its successful $1.4 billion joint off-market bid with Aurizon Operations Limited to acquire 100% of the share capital of Aquila Resources. This is the first time a Chinese and Australian company have launched a joint takeover bid.

A$1.6 billion Lloyds Banking Group sale of Capital Finance and BOS International Australia

Minter Ellison and Allen & Overy acted as joint legal advisers to the Lloyds Banking Group on the sale of its Australian asset finance business, Capital Finance Australia Ltd (CFAL), and its corporate loan portfolio, BOS International Australia Ltd (BOSI) to Westpac Banking Corporation for approximately A$1.55 billion in total. The sale comprises a motor vehicle finance book of A$3.9 billion, equipment finance book of A$2.9 billion and a corporate loan portfolio of A$1.6 billion. As part of the above, we advised in relation to all matters arising from the sale of the seven Bella securitisation transactions. We also advised on the novation and valuation mechanisms in relation to a large number of derivatives exposures. It is very unusual in the Australian market for a bank to completely sell down its participation in its sponsored securitisation programme, and its full derivatives book. We also provided Australian competition law advice. The transaction was time critical and the merger parties worked extensively with the ACCC to address concerns raised in its initial market enquiries and obtained clearance for the transaction within 39 review days, without the ACCC releasing a Statement of Issues.

2014