Taaleem IPO to Fund 4 Schools, 1 Acquisition

Dubai school operator Taaleem plans to raise 750 million AED ($204.21 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) to expand its premium schools network.
Taaleem IPO to Fund 4 Schools, 1 Acquisition
By David Westley
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Dubai school operator Taaleem plans to raise 750 million AED ($204.21 million) in an initial public offering (IPO) to expand its premium schools network, the education group said in a statement released today.

According to the statement funds raised will be used to invest in "the contemplated roll-out of four new premium schools in prime locations in the Emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

"The roll-out of these four additional new schools is expected to consist of three schools in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, including two new schools under the DBS brand, subject to regulatory approvals."

Land for a new DBS school, wedged between the canal and Horizon English School. Construction is expected to begin next year. 

Taaleem recently acquired premium land adjacent to the canal in Al Safa for a new DBS branded school, expected to be called Dubai British School Al Safa. A new DBS school has also been mooted for the Mira community in Dubai.

According to a source close to the matter the new funds could also fund a "probable (major) acquisition". 

Whilst it is clear how much Taaleem is looking to clear from the listing, it is not yet clear what percentage of the business is being sold to get it. In the statement the company said: "This offering differs to some of the other IPO in the region, given that it is a primary offering, in which the company is seeking to raise AED 750 million in new money to finance further growth and expansion."

The listing of primary shares mean that the shares are being created,  and are not existing shares given up by current shareholders. Effectively the total number of shared in Taaleem is being increased and the number and value of newly created shares is dependent on what it takes to generate the AED 750 million the company needs for its expansion plan. 

"[Because they are new shares being created], we do not have a predetermined number of shares on offer. The final number of shares and the percentage share capital to be sold will be determined based on the final offer price per share following the institutional bookbuild."

Taaleem will offer 10% of the new shares to retail investors starting Nov. 10, and 88% of its shares to professional investors on Nov. 17, with a listing expected around Nov. 29, it said in its intention to float document.

Another two percent will be offered to eligible employees and eligible parents, it added. It is not yet clear what a parent will need to do to be considered eligible. 

The subscription period will open on 10 November 2022 and end on 16 November 2022 for UAE Retail Investors, Eligible Employees and Eligible Parents, and on 17 November 2022 for Professional Investors

Taaleem shares are expected to start trading on or around 29 November 2022.

Commenting on the launch of Taaleem’s IPO, the Chairman of Taaleem’s Board of Directors, Khalid Ahmed Humaid Matar Altayer, said:

 “Taaleem has evolved over nearly 20 years into one of the largest premium schools operators in the UAE. The IPO provides an attractive investment opportunity for investors to participate in the next phase of the company’s growth through the expansion of its premium K-12 segment.” 

Taaleem’s Chief Executive Officer, Alan Williamson, added:

“Taaleem operates in one of the fastest growing premium K-12 markets in the GCC. We are proud to be the only schools group involved in all three of the UAE’s Government-Partnership Programmes. Our mix of 10 Premium and 16 Government-Partnership Schools provides diverse opportunities for our more than 27,000 students and more than 3,000 employees. [The IPO] also provides investors with an attractive opportunity to invest in two distinct and fast-growing segments of the UAE education market."

In the year to 31st August 2022, Taaleem earned revenues of 623m AED, with a reported net profit of just shy of 83m AED.  Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation was 172 m AED, suggesting considerable debt repayment. The school group recently acquired Jebel Ali School, its land and its buildings for 185.5m AED. In addition Taaleem agreed, on behalf of Jebel Ali School, to settle the school outstanding liabilities towards its REIT for an amount of AED 48 million. Taaleem will have paid 233.5 million AED in total for the school. Note, it has also agreed to pay back all debentures to the school's parents over 5 years.

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