July 3, 2018 / 6:35 AM / in a month

Australia's Sirtex gets FIRB nod for Chinese buyout

(Reuters) - Liver cancer treatment maker Sirtex Medical (SRX.AX) said on Tuesday Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) had approved its $1.4 billion buyout by a Chinese consortium, clearing a major hurdle for the deal to go through.

The company agreed last month to be taken over by Beijing-based CDH Investments and its partner, China Grand Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Holdings (0512.HK), which trumped a bid from U.S.-based Varian Medical Systems (VAR.N).

However, since Sirtex operates in the United States, the deal also falls within the jurisdiction of the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which has blocked many proposed Chinese investments in American firms in an effort to stop China from acquiring technology.

Australia has proven an attractive destination for Chinese investment in the healthcare sector, with A$5.5 billion in deals agreed since 2015, according to a report published in January by accountancy firm KPMG.

But since the sale of the port of Darwin to a Chinese company in 2015 raised national security concerns, the government has been at pains to demonstrate its vigilance over incoming deals from its biggest trading partner.

Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier

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