Adam Handley
Partner, Perth
A partner for more than 17 years, I have worked with Federal and State Governments on major reform, including privatisation projects across Australia. Over the past 10 years, my main focus has been on North Asian (particularly Chinese) mergers and acquisitions, and project development, primarily in agribusiness, infrastructure and the energy and resources sectors.

I am regarded as one of the leading advisers to major Chinese State Owned Enterprises and private Chinese enterprises investing in Australia since the first wave of investment commenced in 2007.

I have been fortunate to act on more than 25 major Asian investment projects into Australia, including acting for a number of China's largest stated owned and private enterprises.

I also have a track record in advising Federal and State governments on major regulatory and commercial projects, including recently acting for the State of Western Australia on the WA Ports Sale and the Ord Kimberley Expansion Project. Early in my career I was seconded to work for the Western Australian Government in relation to its commitment to the Hilmer micro-economic reform project; which led to the establishment of the National Competition Council and Part IIIA of the then Trade Practices Act (setting up the national access code).

As China Markets Leader, I lead an extensive team actively engaged in building Australia China relationships and more importantly supporting clients in negotiating successful outcomes by effectively navigating cross-cultural differences. I am also President of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC) Western Australia and a National Board member of the ACBC - the peak Australia China bilateral business association in Australia.

I have previously held the roles of Managing Partner Western Australia for 3 years and National Markets Leader which encompassed the growth of our middle market and international market segments with a particular focus on Asia and our various country desks.

Career highlights

  • During my 25+ year legal practice, I have had the opportunity to spend circa 5+ years working in Government (NSW, WA and also Federal Government). Working closely with Governments, in-house and in my day-to-day practice has given me valuable insights into Government operations.
  • In my China work, I have had the opportunity to travel to China more than 30 times and, at times, spent 3 to 4 months of any given year on the ground in China. This has provided me with strong insights into how Australian and Chinese companies and individuals can navigate the “cross cultural divide” to ensure long-term business success.
  • I have advised Baosteel (one of China's largest and most respected State Owned Corporations) on almost all of their investments in Australia over the past 9 years. Working with such a professional and business focused organisation has been a huge privilege. One of those matters was advising Baosteel on its initial 15% strategic investment in then ASX-listed Aquila Resources Limited. Baosteel subsequently expanded this interest to 19.99% before launching a successful $1.4 billion joint takeover bid for Aquila Resources Limited with Aurizon Limited. The successful hostile takeover of Aquila was the first joint hostile takeover by two Australian and Chinese organisations.
  • Advised Legend Holdings Corporation's 90% strategic investment in the Kailis Bros Australian wholesale, processing and export seafood business.
  • Advised the Government of Western Australia on the Ord Development Agreement with Kimberley Agricultural Investment. Kimberley Agricultural Investment is an Australian company wholly owned by China’s Shanghai Zhongfu Group. The agreement will unlock more than 13,000 hectares of land for agriculture and represents one of the biggest agricultural developments in Australia’s north in more than 40 years. The State of Western Australia and Shanghai Zhongfu Group are expected to invest in excess of $700 million over the life of the project.
  • For 5 years, I sat on the Advisory Board of the AMF1 Mining Fund; the first State Owned Enterprise controlled resources focused mining fund in China.
  • I was privileged to sit on the Board of the Federal Government’s Regional Development Australia (Pilbara Branch).
  • I have been privileged to be the WA President of the Australian China Business Council for the past 4+ years.