Investbridge Capital (IBC), an independent alternative asset management and advisory firm based in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), has today announced that it has arranged and advised on a US$ 20 million direct investment by Dubai Investments PJSC (DI) into Africa Crest Education Holdings (ACE). ACE was established in 2016 as an investment company promoting quality education across the African continent, through the development of SABIS® operated schools, with an initial target pipeline of projects in Kenya, Egypt, South Africa, Uganda and Morocco.
Dubai Investments will join the current Founding Investors: IBC, Centum, a leading East Africa’s Investment Company listed on the Nairobi and Uganda Securities Exchanges, and SABIS®, a 130+ year old global school operator educating over 70,000 students across 5 continents and renowned for its proven, proprietary technology and operating systems and outstanding student examination results.
The SABIS® system prides itself on delivering high-quality education that gives students a wider choice and better chances of college and university acceptance, while developing the skills and tools needed to succeed throughout their lives.
The initial project in Kenya, The SABIS® International School – Runda, is currently under construction and now accepting applications for its opening in September 2018. The school will be located on a state-of-the-art campus of 80,000 m² within the Runda neighborhood in Nairobi, admit students through a non-selective admissions policy, and provide an outstanding, co-educational English-medium education that serves both the local and international communities.
Mark DeSario, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Investbridge Capital and Board member of ACE says: “Having Dubai Investments join the Founding Shareholders is a welcomed event and one we believe adds great value to ACE. Dubai Investments is the largest listed diversified investment company listed on the Dubai Financial Market with a market cap of c. US$ 3 billion. Their investment in ACE confirms that strong and robust business execution strategies in the education sector, based on the fundamentals, matched with deeply experienced partners and a well-structured project pipeline will attract the very best institutional investor base.”
He added: “Africa is currently undergoing a demographic transformation with youth as its theme; we remain committed to investing responsibly in what we perceive to be the fastest growing continent over the course of the 21st century.”
Johnny Harb, the CEO of ACE, said: “Africa Crest Education with its strong ties to SABIS® is looking at expanding its school network across the African continent. With a young and growing population, the demand for private education in Africa is increasing, and we are glad that Dubai Investments decided to join ACE making a positive impact through the delivery of a top notch educational system. The upcoming period is auspicious for ACE’s growth; as we benefit from DI’s deep experience and exposure to real estate investments.”
Khalid Bin Kalban, Managing Director and CEO of Dubai Investments, said: “Dubai Investments is pleased to partner with ACE and SABIS® on this project. This is part of the company’s continued efforts to boost its investments in the education sector and making a foray into the African continent. SABIS® has a long-standing history of offering quality schooling and is a respected name in global education landscape and this partnership will go a long way in opening school doors to millions across Africa.”
Al Mal Capital advised Dubai Investments on its investment in ACE. In addition, Al Mal Capital will continue to manage the investment in ACE on behalf of Dubai Investments.
Naser Nabulsi, Vice-Chairman and CEO of Al Mal Capital said “I believe ACE’s African school platform, with SABIS® at its forefront will be a successful venture for all stakeholders; and Dubai Investments’ partnership with ACE will make a positive contribution as the venture grows and adds more schools. We see increased opportunities within the education space and more so in Africa due to its immense growth potentials. We continue to advise our clients including our parent company Dubai Investments on rewarding projects such as this one as we strengthen our own advisory and investments platform at Al Mal Capital.”
“We are pleased to welcome Dubai Investments as a founding investor in ACE,” said Carl Bistany, ACE Chairperson and SABIS® President, “and to count them among the respectable organizations that see the strategic value of providing a high-quality education across Africa.” While James Mworia, Group CEO of Centum said, “Dubai Investments is a great investment partner to work with given their long and solid track record in investments across several sectors and geographies. We are proud to have them partner with us in the education sector in Africa and welcome them to our great continent.”