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GULF ROYAL-BACKED SAMENA TO RAISE $700 MILLION FOR ASIA

Published by Bloomberg.com - Matthew Martin | Apr 24, 2017 

Samena Capital, an investment firm managing about $650 million, plans to raise as much as $700 million for a special situations fund to invest in the Indian subcontinent and Asia.

Samena, which focuses on emerging markets with offices in London, Dubai and Hong Kong, plans to close its third private equity fund in the next 12 to 18 months, Founder and Vice Chairman Shirish Saraf said in an interview in Dubai on Thursday. The company is working on five deals, targeting investments in India, Myanmar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China, he said.

“We focus on countries with young populations, stable political structures and who will benefit from lower oil prices and lower interest rates,” he said. “The Middle East still has some challenges ahead due to lower oil prices.”

The company, backed by investors that include members of the ruling families of Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Bahrain, is turning its attention to Asia after oil prices slumped by more than half since 2014. Gulf Cooperation Council countries, a group of six oil-producing Arab monarchies, are restructuring companies, cutting costs and merging companies amid the slump. Samena purchased a 31 percent stake in Abu Dhabi-listed RAK Ceramics in 2014.

INVESTOR DEMAND

Samena has already raised more than $350 million for the close-ended fund since it started earlier this month, Saraf said. The company may increase its size to $800 million if there’s enough investor demand, he said.

Private equity firms are raising billions of dollars in new money as investors focus more on alternative investments amid a low interest rate environment. Abraaj Capital, which Saraf co-founded with Arif Naqvi in 2002, is planning a first close of as much as $4.5 billion for its largest-ever investment fund, people said on Monday, while Boston-based Bain Capital is targeting $7 billion for its 12th North American buyout pool, people with knowledge of the matter said last week.

Samena has raised $1.1 billion of assets since 2008 and returned about $500 million in capital from more than 40 full and partial exits, according to the company’s website.

Its investors include United Arab Emirate Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Faleh Al-Thani, Qatar’s former Minister of Communication and Transport and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al Khalifa, an adviser to Bahrain’s crown prince, according to its website.

Samena, also backed by V-Nee Yeh, co-founder of Hong Kong-listed asset manager Value Partners Group Ltd. and Noble Group Ltd. Chairman Richard Elman, plans as many as seven exits in the next year, including an initial public offering in India, Saraf said, declining to give more details.

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