OPIC commits $50m to Pakistani fund

The US development finance institution has backed Karachi-based JS Private Equity as it raises its second fund.

Karachi-based JS Private Equity Management will receive $50 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) for JS Private Equity Fund II.

The fund has a target size of $150 million to invest in Pakistani SMEs, specifically those that “either have technology at the core of their business, or can improve efficiency and profitability by upgrading existing technologies” said a statement from OPIC. It may also invest in underperforming companies that could benefit from technological investment in order to grow, or start-ups which are using proven technology from other countries.

The OPIC commitment was announced by US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton at a US-Pakistan strategic dialogue in Islamabad on July 19th 2010.

One of nine OPIC-sponsored Global Technology and Innovation Funds, JSPE Fund II will target sectors such as agribusiness, education, healthcare and financial services. One current prospect is a retail store chain that will provide rural communities with services such as banking and farming supplies.

JS Private Equity is the private equity arm of JS Group, a Pakistani financial services company. Its first fund closed on $158 million and according to the firm’s website, was Pakistan’s first private equity fund.

JSPE Fund I focused on buyouts and expansion capital in Pakistan and included institutional limited partners such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Saudi American Bank (SAMBA), DCD Group and Investment House Kuwait (GIH).

JS Private Equity also has offices in Lahore, Islamabad and Dubai.