What’s happening in the Hunter region?

In this video, Partner Suzie Leask discusses the opportunities and key challenges facing businesses within the Hunter region and how we are helping clients navigate these issues.

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[Suzie Leask:]

There are many opportunities within the Hunter region and we're certainly seeing the region lead the way in terms of renewable energy and sustainability initiatives, and Hall & Wilcox is proud to advise on transactions in this area. The Port of Newcastle's Clean Energy Precinct, of course, will also position the Hunter region as a global gateway and a catalyst for employment, growth and diversification. It also offers a credible pathway for our clients to scale for export, with capacity to diversify the Hunter region and decarbonise industry. So that's certainly an area that we're seeing a lot of growth and opportunity for our clients.

Some of the key issues or challenges we're seeing across all sectors and businesses in the Hunter, these issues are amplified when combined with current operational challenges that we're seeing businesses struggle with, from supply chain issues to skills and labour shortages and general cost pressures in the market, which is, of course, putting a lot of financial pressure on businesses to stay afloat and also to actually be able to deliver goods and services. So we're anticipating, that in some sectors, there will be a rise in insolvency-related activity.

What we're also seeing is that those businesses that have their regulatory compliance frameworks and corporate governance in order...the ones who learned their lessons from previous years, in terms of shoring up their contractual arrangements to provide certainty or – in some cases – flexibility in their supply chains and business continuity measures, including in areas like cybersecurity and privacy law compliance, and those who have solid IP protection strategies in place and generally have their house in order, they'll be the businesses who will be well placed to weather any economic and market pressures.

We're working with businesses and their in-house legal team on a wide variety of corporate and commercial matters, from mergers and acquisitions, infrastructure and energy projects, manufacturing agreements and joint ventures, board governance issues, IP protection and technology transactions.

From a regulatory perspective, the lead up to the new unfair contract laws in November is keeping businesses busy reviewing their contracts to avoid significant new penalties and regulator scrutiny, as well as, of course, the ongoing challenge of cybersecurity, data breaches and privacy law compliance, with privacy law reform a hot topic on the agenda.

At a board level, we're assisting corporates and not-for-profits with updating their corporate governance frameworks and governing documents to help them evolve their governance as they grow and also to set them up for potential future acquisition and board succession.

At a business owner level, we're also seeing lots of movement and work in and around shareholders' agreement and business succession planning. The cost pressures facing businesses seem to be encouraging various methods of capital insertion and in many cases bringing on board key executives and future owners, as founders look to the future and plan their succession or consider their retirement options and even eventually, a sale.

Conversely, some sectors are particularly busy in the growth side of things, with the technology or IP-rich type businesses tending towards expansion and often growing by acquisition. So there's a definite increase in mergers and acquisitions activities in some of those growth areas.



Suzie Leask

Suzie is experienced in a broad range of areas including, business transactions, corporate advisory, commercial contracts, IT and intellectual...

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