UPDATE 1-Samena, Swiss bank Reyl plan $250 mln seed fund

Tue Apr 19, 2011 3:20am EDT

* Preparing to launch fund by October to seed hedge funds

* Frims have committed $25 million towards the fund (Recasts, adds details, quotes)

By Nishant Kumar

HONG KONG, April 19 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's Samena Capital and Swiss boutique private bank and money manager Reyl & Cie SA plan to raise up to $250 million in a seed fund that will invest in hedge funds focusing on Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

The two firms had committed $25 million to start Samena Angel Fund II, said Samena Capital founder and President Shirish Saraf, adding that Reyl would tap private bank clients to help expand the fund they expect to launch by October.

The firms announced a joint venture combining Samena Asia Managers, Samena Capital's hedge fund seeding business, with Reyl & Cie on Tuesday.

"That's the business we see going forward as a real synergy with REYL," Saraf told Reuters in an interview.

Reyl has bought a 50 percent stake in Samena Asia Managers.

"We have a better story together for how we grow the funds," the London School of Economics alumnus said.

Geneva-based Reyl Group manages $4.5 billion with offices in Paris, Luxembourg and Singapore.

Samena Asia Managers runs a $98 million seed fund -- Samena Angel Fund I -- which has invested in Chicago-based Asia-focused multi-strategy hedge fund Phalanx and Greater China long/short hedge fund Snow Lake.

The fund gave a 23.12 percent return since its launch in January 2007 to end of March 2011. By comparison, the MSCI AC Asia Pacific index was down 6.3 percent during the period.

Samena Angel Fund II would broaden the scope of the seed fund, said Julius Wang, a managing director at Samena Capital, adding that the fund may expand to managed accounts and create portfolios that might interest clients form Europe.

"We will reach out to a broader audience for Fund II," Wang said.

In May 2009, Samena Capital bought Vision Asia Pacific Ltd co-founded by Wang to create a hedge fund seeding platform.

Samena Capital focuses on Asia, the Middle East and North Africa and manages more than $400 million in private equity assets.

Operating from London and Hong Kong, with a research presence in India and Bahrain, the firm is in the process of launching its second special situations fund with a targeted amount of $700 million. (Editing by Jonathan Hopfner)

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