School operator Taaleem prepares for Dubai listing

The company has received shareholder approval to sell part of its share capital in an IPO on the DFM

Dubai Schools is one of 27 schools operated by Taaleem across the UAE. Photo: Taaleem
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Dubai school operator Taaleem Holdings has received shareholder approval to sell part of its share capital in an initial public offering and list its shares on the Dubai Financial Market.

Shareholders on Monday approved the conversion of Taaleem into a public joint stock company, becoming the latest UAE entity to join the companies looking to raise funds from equity markets.

The company will launch a bookbuilding process “in accordance with the allotment policy set out in the prospectus, which shall be published, and the application to list all of the company’s share on the Dubai Financial Market”, it said in a notice advertised in local media on Tuesday.

Taaleem did not specify the percentage of share capital it plans to sell to the public, or when it will list its shares.

It gave its creditors and shareholders 30 days to “object to the conversion”.

Despite a slowdown in global stock markets and subdued IPO activity, companies in the UAE have been lining up to tap equity markets amid an unprecedented IPO boom. The country’s economy has bounced back strongly from the pandemic-induced slowdown and higher oil prices have also buoyed investor sentiment.

The government’s efforts to broaden capital markets have also boosted investor sentiment.

Dubai announced plans in November to list 10 state-owned companies to increase the size of its financial market to about Dh3 trillion ($817 billion), as well as set up a Dh2bn market maker fund to encourage the listing of more private companies from sectors such as energy, logistics and retail.

Dubai's Tecom Group, the operator of business districts, was the last company to sell shares in a public offering on the DFM. It raised Dh1.7bn from its IPO, which was 21 times oversubscribed, with total gross demand at more than Dh35bn.

The emirate also unveiled plans to set up a Dh2bn market maker fund to encourage the listing of more private companies from sectors such as energy, logistics and retail.

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority — which operates as a vertically integrated multi-utility, with business activities including electricity generation, transmission and distribution, water desalination and district cooling — was the first government entity to list on the DFM.

The utility, which listed shares in April in the largest public float in the Middle East and Europe since Saudi Aramco went public in 2019, raised Dh22.41bn from its IPO.

Taaleem joins utility companies including Empower and Dubai’s road toll operator Salik that have announced plans to list their shares on the DFM. In June, the government issued regulations to turn Salik into a public joint stock company before its IPO.

Taaleem, formerly known as Beacon Education, was founded in Dubai in 2004. National Bonds Corporation, a fully-owned subsidiary of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, in 2007 invested in Beacon Education and established Madaares, to operate schools.

In 2008, Madaares was rebranded as Taaleem, according to the company website.

Dubai-listed Amanat, which specialises in investments across health and education sectors, sold its entire stake in Taaleem for Dh350m in April last year.

Amanat first acquired a 16.3 per cent stake in Taaleem in 2016, which increased to 21.7 per cent by the end of 2017, it said at the time, without disclosing the name of the buyer.

Taaleem currently operates 26 schools across the UAE that have a teaching staff strength of 1,730. Taleem schools offer British and American curriculums to more than 27,000 students.

Updated: August 30, 2022, 9:27 AM
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