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Damien Roberts

Partner

Damien advises our Japanese clients on cross-border acquisitions, joint venture operations and energy/infrastructure projects in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

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Experience

Damien helps our Japanese clients realise real value from their international investments. He does so by sharing his extensive experience in Australia, Japan and the regions in which both countries invest, and by offering industry-leading Japanese language and business fluency.

Throughout a career focused heavily on Japan, Damien has assisted many of this country's leading trading houses, manufacturers, energy companies, service providers and infrastructure players pursue growth and resilience in Australia and a variety of offshore jurisdictions amongst ever-diverse market conditions.

Based in Tokyo from 2011 before relocating back to Sydney in 2021, Damien leads a cross-border Australia-Japan team to support our clients and their other professional advisers on strategic investments, joint venture operations and long-term project developments. His accumulated expertise spans a broad range of sectors important to Japan, and he regularly advises on matters in the manufacturing, machinery, food, consumer goods and healthcare sectors – in addition to guiding clients on a range of energy and large-scale infrastructure projects (including road, rail, airports and water).

Reflecting a deep understanding of Japanese corporates and their tolerance for risk, Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2021 recognised Damien as a Corporate M&A specialist, describing him as a "hugely experienced with the Japanese market", whilst Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021 highlighted feedback that it “is very easy to discuss matters with him”.

Damien has formerly served as an Executive Councillor for the Australian and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce in Japan and actively supports a number of key initiatives of the Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Committee. Leveraging his insights, together with colleagues throughout the Herbert Smith Freehills global network he plays a core role in further developing the firm's Japan-focused investment corridors to deliver end-to-end legal support for our Japanese clients and their business partners in Australia and beyond.

Damien has held a Level 1 JLPT certification in Japanese (日本語能力試験) for over 25 years, and is a NAATI-accredited interpreter.

Damien's experience includes advising:

  • Senko Group Holdings on its acquisition of a majority stake in premier Australian logistics company AirRoad
  • Asahi Kasei Homes Australia Pty Ltd (AKHA) and McDonald Jones Homes Pty Ltd (MJH) on their joint acquisition of the Supaloc steel frame business
  • Marubeni Corporation on the establishment of an OECD infrastructure fund and seeding with Australian infrastructure assets
  • Japan Pulp & Paper Co. Ltd on its acquisition from Spicers Paper of the Australian company’s Singaporean and Malaysian businesses
  • Fujitsu General on its acquisition of Precise Air Group AVAC
  • Toyota Tsusho Corporation on the acquisition of a 20% interest of the share capital in ASX and TSX dual-listed Orocobre Limited
  • Hitachi Construction Machinery on the development, supply and maintenance of a fleet of autonomous vehicles to be supplied to Whitehaven Coal Limited
  • Gulliver International Co, Ltd (IDOM) on its acquisition of a majority interest in Western Australia's second largest automotive group
  • Mitsubishi Corporation on its acquisition of an 80% interest in Olam Grain Australia and associated Newcastle Agri Terminal interest
  • Mitsui Matsushima International Pty Ltd on the proposed acquisition of an interest in the Eastern Coal Project in Australia
  • Teijin Limited on its acquisition of 39% stake in The Healthy Grain Pty Ltd
  • the Sumitomo Corporation-led consortium on the proposed Japanese bid for the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail Project
  • Sojitz Corporation on the expansion of its investment (together with Nishat Mills Limited and certain of its group companies and others) in Hyundai Nishat Motor (Private) Limited in Pakistan
  • Yahoo! Japan on their joint venture with Skyscanner Ltd for the provision of web-based travel information and search engine services in Japan