GFH acquires US private school in Dubai for $34m

The school – whose identity has not been disclosed – has registered in excess of 20 per cent growth in student numbers over the past four years.

GFH Capital has become the latest investment company to enter the UAE’s burgeoning education sector, with the acquisition of an American curriculum private school in Dubai.

The company, a unit of Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House, yesterday announced the signing of the acquisition the Dubai-based school at a valuation of US$34 million.

The school – whose identity has not been disclosed – has registered in excess of 20 per cent growth in student numbers over the past four years, and currently offers education to nearly 1,300 students from Dubai and the Northern Emirates, according to a GFH Capital statement issued on Saturday.

“We are delighted to announce the signing of this promising transaction in Dubai,” said Hisham Alrayes, GFH Capital’s managing director.

“The school has achieved strong growth in student enrolment and we expect this trend to continue over medium to long term. Increased economic activities, growth in the population of Dubai and increased parental willingness to pay for high-quality education make this sector attractive for investment.”

The Dubai-based real estate investment trust Emirates Reit signed an agreement in November with the UAE-based education provider Gems to acquire the facilities and related assets of the Gems World Academy in Al Barsha, by way of an acquisition leaseback deal.

The Emirates Reit deal came less than three weeks after a similar acquisition deal between Gems and New York’s PineBridge Investments for the acquisition of an unnamed Gems campus.

GFH’s acquisition is not believed to be of a Gems establishment.

“We believe the education sector in Dubai will continue to perform strongly,” said Mr Alrayes. “This investment is in line with GFH Capital’s strategy to acquire cash- yielding businesses in defensive sectors in markets with strong growth potential.”

jeverington@thenational.ae

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Published: May 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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