Dubai Investments (DI), the diversified Gulf-based investment group, is in advanced talks to set up a university and a school as part of a move into the expanding education and healthcare sectors, its chief executive has said.
As in many emerging markets around the world, education and healthcare are fast-growing areas of the United Arab Emirates' economy, as an expanded middle-class demands more, higher-quality services.
Other firms are also targeting investments in the sectors, including South Africa's biggest private hospital group Mediclinic International and local start-up Amanat Holdings, which is in the process of floating on the Dubai stock market.
"DI is seriously considering entering into the education sector," Khalid bin Kalban, managing director and chief executive of Dubai Investments said on the sidelines of a company event. "We are in deep negotiations to have a university within Dubai Investment Park (DIP) as well as a school."
DIP is a residential and commercial development close to the Al Maktoum International Airport, Dubai's second international airport, as well as the planned location for global trade exhibition Expo 2020.
The school would need an investment of about AED60 million ($16.3 million), for which financing would not be required, while the university could initially be funded by leasing existing commercial buildings, he said.
"We have almost 1 billion dirhams in cash available and that by year-end will be almost 1.5 billion dirhams," Kalban said. Additionally, DI has credit lines in place which it can draw on.
DI also plans to lease land for healthcare developments.
The group is also looking to start acquiring successful, profitable companies to boost its portfolio.
"In the coming three months, we are about to acquire two companies, one in the financial services sector and one in real estate," Kalban said.
The firm has agreed the purchase prices and is in the due diligence process. He did not reveal any more details.
Dubai Investments on Monday reported 17.4 percent growth in third-quarter net profit on the back of lower costs and administrative expenses.
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