Australian firms face takeovers

MORE AUSTRALIAN companies may become the target of international takeover bids after the slump in the Australian dollar, investment bankers said at the weekend. Bankers Trust, Macquarie Bank and JP Morgan & Co said the recent fall in the currency to a 12-year low makes Australian companies attractive to potential buyers because they would pay less in local currency terms.

"The level of interest is increasing markedly," said Simon McKeon, an executive director at Macquarie Bank's corporate finance division. The Australian dollar fell to 58.26 US cents on Friday. It has lost about 20 percent of its value since October 1997 amid concern that key Asian economies, including Japan, are heading into recession.