Japan Post’s $8 billion proposal to acquire Australian freight and logistics giant Toll Holdings is a major vote of confidence in the future of the Australian economy, says Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb.
The Government owned Japan Post has offered $9.04 a share for Australia's largest freight and logistics firm, valuing the company at $8 billion.
The move is expected to help Japan Post, which is one of the world's biggest financial firms, become a leading global logistics player.
Under the deal, Melbourne-based Toll will retain its name and run as a division under Japan Post.
Japan Post, which has net assets of about $115bn, said the acquisition would help it step up mergers and acquisitions throughout Asia, Europe and North America.
The state-owned company plans to list on the stock market this year.
Mr Robb said Japan Post is not only acquiring Australian goods, but also Australian services.
The deal will see a substantial injection of capital, opportunities and jobs, in Toll in Australia, said Mr Robb.
Toll’s operations would continue to be run out of Australia with its existing management and workforce.
Mr Robb, who met recently with representatives from Japan Post and Toll, said freight and logistics is the heartbeat of economic activity.
“This offer represents a massive endorsement of Australian skills, services and expertise and underlines the strategic importance of Toll in the Asia Pacific, and provides an ideal platform to spearhead Japan Post and Toll’s global ambitions,” Mr Robb said.
“Toll is already a giant in the Asia Pacific – this deal will enable Toll to become a giant globally.
“It is also a vote of confidence in future freight demand, including anticipated growth of trade flows throughout the region, which will be underpinned by our recently concluded landmark Free Trade Agreements with Korea, China and of course Japan,” he said.
Toll Holdings described the Free Trade Agreement with Japan as an “historic moment” in the Australia-Japan relationship.
Toll also noted: “We expect this will create new opportunities for combined business, and will enable us to build a unique service for those focused on Australia-Japan trade.”
Mr Robb said: “Our Free Trade Agreement with Japan is now in force and is already stimulating new two-way trade and investment flows. History shows that when you deepen trade relations, new investment inevitably follows,” he said.
The Japan Post offer is subject to shareholder and Foreign Investment Review Board approval.