Actis secures nearly $3B for emerging markets

London-based Actis Capital recently closed its latest fund, Actis Emerging Markets 3, at $2.9 billion, surpassing its $2.5 billion goal.

The vehicle has 100 backers. More than one-third of the capital raised and half the limited partners came from North America, representing a cross section of public pension funds, endowments, family offices and financial institutions, says Partner Jonathan Bond.

Actis earned a 31% gross IRR and a 2.3x return multiple across both previous emerging markets funds, according to a March 2008 document from Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System, which committed up to $200 million in fund 3.

Other backers include fund of funds investor CDC Group ($650 million); San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System (up to $20 million); and SVG Capital, using its SVG Diamond Private Equity III ($10 million).

Actis will mainly make control buyouts and growth capital investments but will also consider restructurings and privatizations. The firm plans to do 30 to 40 deals across Africa, China, India, Latin America and South East Asia, investing at least $50 million of equity capital in each transaction.

The firm anticipates that China, India/South Asia and Africa will each receive 20% to 30% of the fund’s investments; Southeast Asia and Latin America will each from 10% to 15 percent.

Helix Associates served as placement agent. — Nancy Gordon