Dubai's GEMS Education eyes growth in southeast Asia

Schools operator is looking at opportunities in new markets including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and China
Dubai's GEMS Education eyes growth in southeast Asia
Dino Varkey, GEMS group executive director.
By Reuters
Mon 09 Feb 2015 01:38 PM

GEMS Education, a big Dubai-based schools operator, is looking at opportunities to expand in 2015 in new markets including Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and China, the company's executive director said on Monday.

The expansion plans come after a group led by Dubai's Fajr Capital, and including Blackstone and Bahrain sovereign fund Mumtalakat, took a "significant minority stake" in the firm late last year.

"We will continue to invest and grow the business at 10 to 12 percent in terms of top line (growth)," Dino Varkey, GEMS group executive director, told Reuters. Last year's investment in GEMS is allowing it to expand, he said.

The firm has a strong presence in the United Arab Emirates, where its website lists 12 schools as open for enrolment, and it also has schools in countries including Qatar, Egypt, Kenya, the United States, Switzerland, Uganda and India. It opened its first school in Singapore in September 2014, and will open its first school in Malaysia in September 2015, said Varkey.

"Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines we are actively looking at," he said, adding that the company's preference was for organic growth.

Varkey declined to say how much money the company was looking to invest in 2015, but said it had no immediate needs to raise fresh capital, either through an initial public offer of shares or through bond issuance. In November 2013, it issued a $200 million, perpetual hybrid Islamic bond, callable after five years.

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