Actis hires oil and gas head

Actis has boosted its oil and gas operations in Africa and South East Asia with sector veteran Meb Somani, who has been hired as head of the division.

Actis, a UK emerging markets-focused private equity firm, has hired Meb Somani as head of oil and gas, in a new position, based in London.

He was previously managing director at Harrison Lovegrove & Co, an oil and gas corporate finance boutique, where he worked on acquisitions and sales, mostly in Africa and Asia.

Before joining Harrison Lovegrove & Co., Somani spent twenty years at oil and gas companies Shell and Texaco, where he held commercial and operational roles in Europe, the Middle East and Central and South East Asia.

Somani will initially divide his time between Africa and South East Asia.

In December Actis hired Ahmed Dabbous as head of operations in North Africa, based in Cairo.  He replaced Andrew Brown, who left Actis in October to join French firm SGAM AI Private Equity as partner.

Earlier this month Actis invested $40 million (€30.8 million) in the TaizinaiGroup, one of the largest bacteria-based drink manufacturers in China. The investment is part of a larger $73 million financing, arranged and led by Actis, with the balance raised through Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.

In September Actis held a final close of its South East Asia-focused fund, Actis ASEAN Fund, on $130 million.

Actis was formed in 2004 following a management buyout of the business from CDC Capital Partners, a private equity firm.  Actis has $3.3 billion of funds under management and has 16 offices in Africa, Asia and Latin America.