Any insight, information etc.. about Actis PE - Al Abraaj Group

Hey guys,

There are already some posts about that but no real answer..

I would like to know whether somebody has an insight or any interesting information about Actis PE and/or Al Abraaj Group (I am trying to break into PE in Africa/Middle East).

Another question, do you think I can cold-email an someone in one of those firms to ask some questions (and ask for an internship at the end maybe...) ?

Thanks !!

Comments (9)

Sep 4, 2016 - 11:01pm

So I happen to know people in Abraaj (at the Partner level) and work in a market in which they operate:

Abraaj is a global PE firm with about $9B under management right now, they've got a number of offices across emerging markets. They acquired Aureos Capital, which was an emerging market PE, hence the operations across emerging markets. They manage a global buyout fund that's about $2.5B, in Asia they have a $250M Southeast Asian Fund, and they also just raised a $200M Pakistan fund. From where I sit, I see that they're quite active in fast-growing emerging markets, albeit in larger ones. For example, in one very fast-growing market they are actually shutting down their office (or moving it to becoming a rep office of a regional hub there? Not really sure yet) because the deals are much too small given the size of their funds. That being said, they do both buyouts and growth capital. In the market where I am, however, their track record has been mixed. I'm not sure about how you would rate this but there's one company they achieved close to 100% IRR on, but they effectively destroyed the company. When they exited it by selling to a listed company in the same industry, the listed company has spent the last 2 years turning it around. Other deals have been more successful in terms of building the company, like one deal they did where I am went from less than 10 locations to 100+ now.

Some recent transactions include the $30M Series B of NinjaVan:…

"Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted" - Clayton Christensen
  • 1
Sep 5, 2016 - 5:50am

Many thanks for your answer, it seems that you know a lot about the Abraaj Group.
Have you heard anything about the culture there, working hours etc. ?
Do you think that it is possible to apply for a 6-month internship without any network there ?

Sep 5, 2016 - 7:55am

From my experience, things here in Asia and the Middle East (idk if it's even more pronounced here in the Emerging Markets?) are quite network driven, people tend to like working with those they know, or are introduced to by someone they know and trust. Network would help quite a lot to get an interview. Especially in PE & VC over here, it tends to be a "you don't call us, we call you" type of attitude. That being said, trying to get in touch with people at the firm would not hurt especially if you can find some common ground with them. One junior I know who works there now used to work at a firm that did a transaction with them. He impressed them with his work on the transaction and they started speaking about him moving there.

Culture-wise, I honestly would be talking out of my ass if I said I knew what it was like to work there, but I've worked with the partner I know at Abraaj when he was at a previous firm, he kept brutal hours. That being said, when I was referring a deal to him recently, I was calling early in the morning and the admin who picked up the phone said that he doesn't usually get in until maybe 9:30am/10:00am, so go figure.

"Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted" - Clayton Christensen
Sep 5, 2016 - 8:56pm


Some people who work there told me average workday is 9-24 and they do not usually work on weekends.

Sorry, what does 9-24 mean? But yes, I've heard the same thing that workload is quite reasonable.

"Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted" - Clayton Christensen
Sep 6, 2016 - 4:48am


9 to midnight

Ah! Gotcha. Definitely in larger markets with higher deal flow velocity, it would easily get to that. In smaller, emerging markets they operate in, this is most likely only during peak times, you would probably be 9am-9pm on a normal day

"Be the Disruptor, not the Disrupted" - Clayton Christensen
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