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SWFI First Read, December 20, 2017

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The U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives have approved a massive tax reform bill – the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The bill passed in the U.S. Senate with a 51-to-48 vote. The corporate tax rate is being lowered from 35% to 21%. It is the first major reform in the U.S. tax code in 31 years. U.S. President Trump tweeted, “I would like to congratulate @SenateMajLdr on having done a fantastic job both strategically & politically on the passing in the Senate of the MASSIVE TAX CUT & Reform Bill. I could have not asked for a better or more talented partner. Our team will go onto many more VICTORIES!”

On the personal income front, the law reforms a number of measures. For example, the bill roughly doubles the standard deduction to US$ 24,000 for married couples who file jointly. For singles, the deduction goes to US$ 12,000.

Ontario Teachers’ Acquires Avocado Farms in Western Australia

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan acquired Busselton, Australia-based Jasper Farms, an owner of avocado farms.

Temasek Participates in Series B in Orchard Therapeutics

London-based Orchard Therapeutics, a biotechnology company involved in gene therapies, raised US$ 110 million in a Series B round. The investment round was led by Baillie Gifford and ORI Capital. New investors in the company include Temasek Holdings and Cowen Healthcare Investments. Other investors in smaller allocations in the Series B round include Juda Capital, Pavilion Capital, RTW Investments, Agent Capital, 4BIO Capital and existing investors F-Prime Capital and UCL Technology Fund.

Investment Corporation of Dubai Refinances The Residences at the Mandarin Oriental

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Chuck Grassley Leaves Judiciary for Senate Finance Chair

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U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, age 85, is leaving the Senate Judiciary Committee as chair. He will become Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee next year. The Iowa Republican has served as chairman of the Judiciary Committee since January 2015. Chuck Grassley served as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee in 2001 and from 2003 to 2007.

Grassley is replacing Senator Orrin Hatch (from Utah) who is retiring from the Senate. Replacing Orrin Hatch in Utah as Senator, is former Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who lost the 2012 election to Barack Obama.

“Looking ahead, at the Finance Committee, I want to continue to work to make sure that as many Americans as possible get to experience this good economy for themselves,” said Senator Grassley in a statement. “That means working to provide Americans with additional tax relief and tax fairness so they can spend more of their hard-earned money on what’s important to them.”

The Committee on Finance is one of the original committees established in the Senate and was first created on December 11, 1815. The committee deals with a whole matter of issues including taxation, revenue, customs, trade agreements, Social Security and more. It is considered to be one of the most powerful committees in Congress. In addition, the Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over both Medicare and Medicaid.

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Liberty Mutual Inks $1 Billion Risk Sharing Agreement with OPIC

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Liberty Mutual Insurance inked a special deal with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S government’s development finance institution, to help facilitate investment in challenging markets. The deal entails forming a US$ 1 billion risk-sharing agreement to facilitate private sector investment in developing markets. OPIC recently received a new mandate from Washington D.C., armed with more capital and flexibility.

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Keppel Infrastructure to Acquire Ixom from Blackstone

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Keppel Infrastructure Fund Management Pte Ltd, in its capacity as trustee-manager of Keppel Infrastructure Trust, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into a share sale agreement with certain funds managed by Blackstone and certain management sellers for the proposed acquisition of a 100% interest in Ixom HoldCo Pty Ltd (Ixom). The enterprise value for Ixom is A$ 1,100 million. The equity value for Ixom is A$ 777 million.

Ixom is an industrial infrastructure business in Australia and New Zealand. The company supplies and distributes water treatment chemicals. The Ixom Group is the sole manufacturer of liquefied chlorine in Australia, as well as a major provider of manufactured caustic soda.

The proposed transaction will be initially funded via debt.

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