Last week, RSM announced the appointment of Justin Audcent as a director in its Western Australia corporate finance team.
Mr Audcent, who commenced his new role in July, joined from Crowe Horwath, with previous positions at Ernst & Young and HLB Mann Judd.
Over 25 years in the industry, Mr Audcent has advised in excess of 200 successful corporate M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions, including many international and cross-border deals.
Mr Audcent told Accountants Daily that his focus will be on growing RSM’s corporate and mid-market M&A business.
“On the buyside, this includes advice on bid strategy, valuation and due diligence, whilst on the sell-side my primary focus is on handling the sale of private businesses and non-core corporate divisions,” Mr Audcent said.
“We also see roll-up opportunities in other sectors which remain fragmented and are currently working on a couple of projects of this nature.”
Looking ahead Mr Audcent predicts that M&A will continue to increase.
“Whilst the WA economy remains subdued with deal volumes well down on the boom years, we have seen some uptick in M&A activity in the last 12-18 months, particularly in the mid-market,” he said.
“By and large, WA companies have been targets rather than acquirers – with buyers being multinationals and ASX-listed companies from the eastern states.”
Mr Audcent believes that mid-tier firms are best placed to leverage this opportunity as many corporates shy away from the more expensive big four firms and boutiques struggle to refocus on sectors other than resources.
“With corporates focusing on cost across the board, I see larger corporates increasingly prepared to move away from the big four and seek out capability in the mid-tier firms – both in corporate finance and in other specialist areas,” he said.
“In WA, many boutique advisory firms have in the past focused solely on the resources sector – whilst some have successfully refocused on other sectors, a number are certainly struggling, with activity in the resources having fallen away in recent years.”