UAE education sector increasingly attractive for investors
Dubai, UAE, 22 June 2008: Rasmala Investments and Al Khayyat have made a major foray into the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) education sector through their acquisition of 13 per cent stake in Madaares, a private joint stock company specialising in enhancing quality and standards in the regional education sector.
“Having noted with increasing interest the exponential growth in UAE’s education sector, we decided increase our stakes in this sector,” said Amer Al Khayyat, Managing Director of Al Khayyat Investments. “The vibrant energy displayed by Madaares in introducing world class education and quality learning tools as well as the company’s speedy growth prompted us to acquire this stake in partnership with the leading regional investment bank Rasmala Investments.”
Al Khayyat added: “This deal comes at a time where the UAE is witnessing major transformation in its education landscape in line with its booming private sectors. The regional governments have encouraged private sector involvement in education. Madaares plays a pivotal role in enhancing the UAE education industry which is seeing exponential growth. It is a matter of pride to be part of this initiative.”
The UAE Education is challenged to groom UAE students for global competition. In its quest to develop the country as a knowledge-intensive economy, Madaares aims to give students the skills they need to become competitive players in the global economy. The company is embarking on innovative initiatives to ensure that students in the UAE are better prepared to complete university education and compete with a global workforce.
Nasser bin Hassan Al Shaikh, board chairman of Madaares and vice-chairman and CEO of National Bonds Corporation which incorporates Madaares, said: “At Madaares we are always on the lookout for shareholders who share our vision and values for bettering the education sector in the UAE. This deal represents a major milestone for Madaares, with the entry of Al Khayyat and Rasmala Investments.”
“Al Khayyat family and Rasmala Investments have acquired a 13 percent stake in the company. Our partnership with Al Khayyat family is not a new one, and following this acquisition, they will own a 25 per cent stake in Madaares,” Al Shaikh added.
RHT Partners, the private equity firm that brings together high-calibre investment management professionals and prominent financial backers from Europe, the Middle East and the United States, has facilitated this transaction, and nominating Amer Al Khayyat for a seat on Madaares board.
“Education is a major driver of the region’s knowledge economy. This deal underlines the point that Madaares is a socio-economically feasible project to invest in,” said Ziad Azzam, CEO of Madaares. “We firmly believe that Madaares will help create a regional hub for education in the Middle East by introducing world class services to the rapidly growing students’ communities. While educational systems are changing country by country, we can’t emphasize more on the central role of the private sector in moving education forward. This deal clearly demonstrates that investors in the region are shifting their sights to the educational sector which positions these companies as corporate citizens by improving private schools which continues to be our top social priority. Madaares efforts are focused on preparing the next generation of leaders by addressing students’ community priorities and concerns.”
Madaares, a Dh720 million private joint stock company, was incorporated by National Bonds Corporation in February 2007. With the majority of the shareholders from the UAE and GCC countries, Emirates Islamic Bank, Amlak Finance, Zaabeel Investments, Manazel Real Estate, Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation, Kuwait-based Global Investment House and Educational Holding Group, and a select group of prominent individuals from the region hold stake in the company.
Madaares aims at raising education standards in the UAE and the region by building and managing schools that offer the most up-to-date curriculum, modern facilities and convenient locations for the benefit of both nationals and expatriates.