Samena holds $200m first close on debut fund

Led by former Abraaj managing director and co-founder Shirish Saraf, the nascent Samena Capital intends to hold a $350m final close on its regional special situations fund by the end of next month and has separately set aside $50m to buy stakes in other Asian asset managers.

Samena Capital has held a $200 million (€140 million) first close on its debut special situations fund, which it expects to close by the end of October on $350 million.

Founded in February, Samena, short for “the Subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa”, said it has identified stakes it intends to buy in Indian and Japanese asset managers. The firm said it was set up with $50 million earmarked for expanding its franchise through acquisitions and will look to buy asset managers across Asia.

Samena said it will be headquartered in Bahrain, while its FSA-regulated investment advisor has a London office and this year plans to open locations in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Mumbai.

The firm boasts a heavy-hitting list of nearly a dozen founding shareholders including its president Shirish Saraf, co-founder and former managing director of Abraaj Capital; Atul Punj, chairman and founder of Indian construction giant Punj Lloyd; V-Nee Yeh, co-founder of Hong Kong-listed asset management firm Value Partners; Colin Rutherford, chairman of AIM-listed Midas Capital; and Sheikh Ziad Abdul Rahman Al Turki, head of Saudi Arabian conglomerate ATCO Group.

Abraaj’s chairman and chief executive, Arif Naqvi, is also a founding shareholder, though not listed on Samena’s website as one of its directors.

“The anchor shareholders of Samena Capital are ‘value-preneurs’, who have each created enterprises in excess of $1 billion over the last 10 years. Their business acumen and networks, coupled with the intellectual capabilities and track record of our investment team, makes Samena Capital a unique value proposition,” Saraf said in a statement. “The firm is global in size and scale at the outset and aims to be a catalyst for increasing cross border investment within the SAMENA region.  Interestingly, Samena in the old Buddhist script also means ‘collectively’ or ‘together’.”