Actis expands SE Asia team

The firm has appointed Ivy Santoso as Indonesia country head and added a global healthcare director in Singapore. The moves reflect the increasing PE interest in Southeast Asia.

Emerging markets firm Actis has added two new hires to its Southeast Asia team: Ivy Santoso as Indonesia country head and Arjun Oberoi as global healthcare sector head, according to a statement. Both join at the director level, and their new positions are effective immediately.

The new directors will be based in Singapore, but Santoso will be spending most of her time in Jakarta, Santoso told Private Equity International. Actis aims to open a Jakarta office in March, she added. 

Santoso previously worked in Indonesia for thirteen years as country head for Avenue Capital, which has been shifting its focus back to the United States and Europe, she said.

Oberoi was head of international strategy and business development at Stryker Corporation, a medical equipment firm. Before that, he held several positions across Europe and Asia-Pacific in different corporations and consultancies, all of them medically focused.

At Actis, Oberoi will oversee the firm’s portfolio of five healthcare investments, including the Asiri Group in Sri Lanka and Nanjing Micro-Tech in China. The firm is hoping to step up its healthcare investments worldwide, not just Southeast Asia, an Actis spokeswoman added.

In Indonesia, Santoso is looking at five deals and hopes to close two or three in the next few months, she said. The focus is on Indonesia’s consumer sector, which has huge growth potential as Indonesia's consumer class rises. 

Southeast Asia interest is heating up. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, for example, opened a Singapore office a few months ago and will be scouting the region to make investments from the largest fund ever raised for Asia ($6 billion), which is near final close.

Nicholas Bloy, co-founder of Navis Capital Partners, said the ASEAN region's creation of a tariff-free, integrated economic community, set for 2015, will dramatically increase the market size for businesses and create cross-border opportunities, PEI reported earlier. After the agreements take hold, “A business with a potential market of 20 million will suddenly have a potential market of 600 million,” he said.