Actis in $48m India healthcare deal

The private equity firm has acquired a ‘significant stake' in Indian pharmaceutical company Symbiotec as it raises its third emerging markets fund.

UK-based emerging markets firm Actis has invested $48 million in Symbiotec Pharmalab, a pharmaceutical company based in India, according to a company statement. The firm did not disclose the interest it took in the business, but said it was a “significant stake”. 

IDFC Capital acted as exclusive adviser to Symbiotec on the deal.

Symbiotec produces steroid-hormone active pharmaceutical ingredients for 200 customers, including multinationals and generic pharmaceutical companies. Its active pharmaceutical ingredients are used to produce medications treating inflammation, dermatology and asthma, among other ailments.

“With its US FDA approved facilities and high quality products with Asian cost manufacturing advantages, it is on track to become a leading global player. We look forward to working with [founder] Anil Satwani and his team to build on Symbiotec’s success to date,” JM Trivedi, partner and head of South Asia at Actis, said in a statement. 

Actis could not be reached for further comment by press time.

Actis has been active in the healthcare sector for about 20 years, according to the firm. In October 2012, it invested $32 million in Asiri Group, a private hospital group in Sri Lanka. 

“The deal flow in the healthcare space is at the moment very strong across emerging markets,” Jonathon Bond, head of investor development and a partner at Actis, told Private Equity International at the time. “We see quite a strong demand for capital and some very successful companies in this space,” he said. 

We are putting more emphasis in general on healthcare. We have a team that is dedicated to healthcare and we would like to do more healthcare investments across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Jonathon Bond, partner, Actis

“We are putting more emphasis in general on healthcare. We have a team that is dedicated to healthcare and we would like to do more healthcare investments across Asia, Africa and Latin America,” he added. 

The deal comes as Actis ramps up its fundraising efforts ahead of closing its third emerging markets vehicle. Earlier in October, the firm appointed Neil Brown as a partner and head of investor relations. Brown joined on October 7 as a replacement for Jonathan Bond, who is to depart at the end of this month.

The new appointments come as Actis attempts to wrap up fundraising for its Actis Global 4 fund. In May, PEI revealed Actis had reduced its target to $1.6 billion from $3.5 billion and changed the investment structure of the vehicle, after spending nearly two years in market.  

However, the firm has reportedly had some recent success, with the Financial Times reporting this week that the firm had garnered commitments of $1.7 billion for the vehicle, as well as expecting to close a $1.1 billion energy sector fund for emerging markets in November.

Actis is a London-headquartered private equity firm focused on investing in emerging markets. The firm spun out from CDC Group, the UK government's development finance institution, in 2004, with the Actis management team buying out a 60 percent stake. In April 2012, the firm bought the remaining 40 percent stake from the government.