Actis backs Halliburton spin-out for oil & gas push

Actis, the emerging markets buyout firm, has made its first investment in Pakistan in nine years making a growth capital investment in ex-Halliburton oil and gas services company LMKR.

Emerging markets buyout firm Actis has bought a 49 percent stake in Pakistani oil and gas IT services company LMKR. Terms were undisclosed but a source close to the bid said they had paid less than $25 million (€18 million).

Actis has not invested in a stake in a company in Pakistan since 1998. Instead the firm has managed its $300 million legacy portfolio, which it retained after spinning out from UK government-backed parent CDC.

Shabbir Hasmi, a principal at Actis, who led the deal, said: “We have a good pipeline in Pakistan and this is a beginning of a number of deals we would like to do in the country.”

The investment comes from the firm’s second south Asia fund, which closed on $150 million in 2005. Actis has been actively targeting deals in the country since it closed this fund.

Hasmi said the firm intended to take advantage of consolidation opportunities in the oil and gas industry globally and it would pursue a buy and build approach using LMKR as a platform.

The company was previously part of the Landmark Graphics Corporation, a subsidiary of oil giant Halliburton. The owners subsequently bought the company from Halliburton in December last year. “Seeing the opportunity we decided to act. We realised LMKR would be looking for liquidity, as the owners don’t have the financial muscle to grow the company on their own,” Hasmi said.

Actis is fundraising for its global and worldwide emerging markets funds, targeting $2.5 billion in total.