Samena Capital cautious on region because of unrest

13 June 2011

Company looking for new investors in $700m investment fund

Hong Kong-based Samena Capital has said it is “cautiously optimistic” about opportunities to deploy some of the $700m it is currently raising in the Middle East.

“There is a lot opportunity in the Middle East, but you have to tread carefully,” says Shirish Saraf, vice-chairman and chief executive officer of the company.

Samena Capital is raising $700m for its second fund focused on investing in the subcontinent, Asia, Middle East and North Africa. The fund already has $350m in place from existing investors, but wants to diversify its investor base with the rest of the fundraising.

Saraf says that the political uncertainty means investors will have to be cautious, but opportunities do exist in the region. “We are very cautious on the Middle East, and we are really looking for regional companies to invest in,” says Saraf.

In Samena’s first fund, it invested in Elsewady Cables in Egypt. Saraf says the company is a good example of a business capitalising on the infrastructure boom around the region, rather than relying on the market in just one country,

He adds that he sees the potential for opportunities to invest some of the new fund in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE, which he sees as markets that will benefit from stability.

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