Accountants aiming high on the value chain

THE major accounting firms have a captive niche in the corporate finance market, but they all aspire to move up the value chain.

The core work for these firms is in areas like valuations, due diligence, independent expert’s reports and investigating accountant reports.

To varying degrees, all of the major accounting firms have moved beyond this captive market.

This accords with their broader long-term strategy of diversifying into a range of value-added business services.

Ernst & Young director Martin Alciaturi believes his firm has the most “comprehensive and experienced” corporate advisory practice in Perth, performing lead advisory assignments in competition with national investment banks.

Most recently it arranged funding for Australian Fast Foods’ purchase of the national Red Rooster chain from Coles Myer.

Other highlights include being sole financial adviser to Woodside on the bid for Veba Oil & Gas and providing an independent assessment of Wesfarmers’ forecast results in the bid for Howard Smith.

KPMG Corporate Finance has been financial adviser to a range of WA companies, including Integrated Tree Cropping, recently-listed Hire Intelligence, mining supplier Brandrill, property firm Richard Noble & Co and manufacturer Joyce Corporation.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Securities also has achieved some success in diversifying its business. Recent highlights include reviewing the financial projections in Shell’s Bidders Statement for Woodside, managing the disposal of Beltreco’s national conveyor belt and rubber lining business and advising Olympia Resources on its planned IPO.

Andersen has played a significant role in Perth’s corporate advisory market over the past few years, but current merger negotiations are likely to result in it being absorbed by a competitor.

PWC Partner Andrew Edwards believes Western Australian companies prefer corp-orate finance services to be provided by firms in Perth, which can provide personalised service and have a strong understanding of business issues facing WA companies.

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