Samena plans Japanese hedge fund

Following the close of its debut special situations fund on under $200m last October, the Abraaj spin-out is expanding its business lines.

Samena Capital, which is focused on the subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, has launched the Samena Japan Absolute Return Fund.

This follows the close of its debut special situations private equity fund on under $200 million in October 2008. The fund had originally targeted £350 million.

The Japan-focused hedge fund will start with $25 million in capital and invest in large- and mid-cap Japanese stocks, employing a long-short strategy. It will be primarily marketed to institutional and high net worth investors in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the US.

The fund will be managed by Ramiz Hasan and Celia Farnon. Hasan is the firm’s co-founder and executive director and Farnon is its partner and senior vice president.

“This is the best time to be investing in,” according to Hasan. “Renowned Japanese blue chips are trading at their most attractive valuations for 40 years due to a combination of investor capitulation with this asset class and severe economic conditions faced by corporate Japan,” he said. The firm also plans to open a new investment advisory office in Tokyo in the next two months, he added.

In September 2008, the firm said it planned to open offices in Hong Kong and Mumbai. It will be headquartered in Bahrain while its Financial Services Authority-regulated investment advisor has a London office.

Samena was founded in February 2008 with $50 million earmarked for expanding its franchise through acquisitions and will look to buy asset managers across Asia. The firm is led by Shirish Saraf, the co-founder and former managing director of MENASA-focused private equity group Abraaj Capital.

Samena did not reply to requests for comment at press time.