Samena Capital, an investment firm focused on principal investments, is expecting to make a first close of its second special situations fund by the end of June this year. Samena Special Situations Fund II L.P. (SSSF II) is expecting to make the first close at around $300 million with the final close in the next 18 months, according to a company spokesperson.

“The total targeted fund size is expected to be $700 million, with a final closing to take place within 18-24 months from the initial closing date,” the spokesperson said. Samena Capital’s new offering has already attracted commitments of over $350 million from its anchor shareholders and strategic investors.

Founded three years ago, Samena Capital invests in the Indian subcontinent, rest of Asia, the Middle East and North Africa regions. The funds investors include businessmen, deal-makers, corporate leaders and asset management professionals from the region. Samena is led by its vice-chairman & CEO Shirish Saraf, who is also one of the co-founders of Abraaj Capital.

Samena Capital has made more than half-a-dozen investments from its first special situations fund (which had a corpus of $180.5 million) in India. These included an investment in Eicher Motors, the commercial vehicle manufacturer, which generated a return of 5.4x in less than two years. The first fund has already returned 20 per cent of its capital to investors.

Samena Capital’s first fund holds stakes in Indian companies like Ballarpur Industries, Dynamatic Technologies, Jubilant Life Sciences, Jubilant Energy, Voltamp Transformers, HBL Power Systems and Eicher Motors. In addition, it has invested in companies like Singapore’s Rubicon Offshore International, Dubai’s container terminal operator DP World and Union National Bank of the UAE, among others.

Atul Punj, chairman of the engineering & construction firm Punj Lloyd, is one of the founding shareholders and board members of Samena Capital.

SSSF II will operate through a seven-year close-ended PE-style structure, which allows it to build “strong minority stakes in listed companies.” Samena Special Situation Fund invests through block purchases, pre-negotiated deals and preferential issuance of equity.

Also, with the second fund nearly four times bigger than its debut fund, Samena Capital expects to strike larger deals across 20-25 companies although its strategy remains the same, the spokesperson told VCCircle.

Although Samena remains agnostic in terms sector and geographic allocations, the company is “excited by the areas which, we believe, can withstand turbulent times and bring meaningful value going forward,” said the spokesperson. These include areas like defence & internal security, life sciences, power & water desalination, oil & gas, healthcare, education, consumption and infrastructure roll-out.

Besides special situations, Samena Capital also manages a bond fund which is a joint venture with Argyle Street Management Ltd. Through its acquisition of Vision Asia Pacific Ltd in 2009, it also manages Samena Angel Fund, which takes an economic interest in emerging hedge funds and hedge fund management companies across Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

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