Dubai’s Abraaj makes Thai education bet

27 May 2014   Category: News, Asia, Global, Thailand   By Daniel Shane

Abraaj Group, a Dubai-based private equity firm managing about US$7.5 billion of AUM, has announced a deal to acquire a stake in a major private education provider in Thailand just days after the Southeast Asian country’s government was deposed in a military coup.

Abraaj said in a statement that it had a paid an undisclosed sum to acquire a shareholding in KPN Academy, which runs 103 education centres across Thailand and teaches approximately 500,000 students.

The private equity firm said that it would seek to expand KPN’s presence across Southeast Asia and other international regions. The investment is the sixth under Abraaj’s current Southeast Asia Fund

“The rising middle class in Asia, and beyond, is increasingly looking to supplement their family’s education with out-of-school services. The education sector’s attractive market dynamics, together with KPN Academy’s well-established market position, therefore, provide a robust platform for the next phase of its growth,” commented Srisant Chitvaranund, managing director, Abraaj, in a statement.

“We will leverage our collective resources to ensure that KPN Academy will become the leading out-of-school education service provider in the region.”

Abraaj’s investment in Thailand comes amid political turmoil in the country, with General Prayuth Chan-ocha this week receiving royal endorsement from King Bhumibol Adulyadej following the military’s overthrowing of the elected government.

Credit rating agency Moody’s said in a statement on Monday that it estimated a prolonging of the political impasse until the end of the year would shave two to three percentage points off of its pre-crisis economic growth forecast of 4.5% for 2014.