Washington State Investment Board, which manages state retirement and public funds, has committed $250 million for Actis’s latest emerging markets offering, Actis Global 4 LP reports PE Hub.

The commitment was made at its November board meeting, where the $79 billion pension system made more than $550 million in commitments to two global private equity managers, including $300 million for London-based Apax Partners and its Apax Europe VIII LP besides $250 million for Actis’s latest fund, the report adds.

Washington State has one of the nation’s largest private equity programs, with $15.6 billion in existing private equity assets. Private equity represents about 25 per cent of its main fund’s total assets. Washington State is known for making large commitments. Since early this year, it has committed $300 million to Leonard Green & Partners’ latest fund, $300 million to the latest fund from Providence Equity Partners and $500 million to the latest mega-fund from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

Actis is a leading private equity investor that targets emerging markets with about $4.6 billion in assets under management. With private equity action moving eastwards, this commitment bolsters the state investment board's allocation to emerging markets private equity.

It is an emerging markets specialist, which invests exclusively in Africa, Asia and Latin America. It is seeking $3.5 billion for its Actis Global 4 Fund. Other investors in Fund 4 include the Pennsylvania School Employees’ Retirement System, which has committed $100 million and the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System, which committed an undisclosed amount.

Actis was spun out as the private equity unit of CDC Group in 2004. The CDC Group, which was founded as the Commonwealth Development Corporation in 1948, has been investing in India for more than two decades. Post spin out, CDC has been operating as a fund-of-funds and remains a key sponsor of the funds launched by Actis.

According to its website, Actis has realised $4.3 billion from $1.7 billion cash invested since its establishment. In India, Actis has been essentially doing mid-market buyouts. Some of its key investments include infusion of $65 million in Nilgiri Dairy in 2006, buyout of Punjab Tractors. In a key exit recently, Reckitt Benckiser bought Actis-backed Paras Pharmaceuticals last year in one of the largest deals in the Indian FMCG space.

Actis’s previous fund closed in 2008 having raised $2.9 billion. The firm has offices in Beijing, Cairo, Delhi, Johannesburg, Lagos, Mumbai, Nairobi, Sao Paulo and Singapore.

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