Abraaj buys Thai education provider

The firm’s Southeast Asia fund has taken a stake in KPN Academy as its sixth investment.

The Abraaj Group has acquired a stake in Thailand-based out-of-school education provider KPN Academy from its Southeast Asia fund, according to a company statement. The firm did not disclose financial details of the transaction.

KPN, which started as a Thai music school, now offers education in a variety of subjects, including mathematics, science and social sciences, at over 100 centres across Thailand.

The firm, which has invested in three education businesses globally, said that in Thailand the number of students enrolled in out-of-school education is estimated to have increased by 39 percent over the past five years.

“Demand for affordable, quality out-of-school education is growing rapidly across Southeast Asia. KPN Academy is a very exciting business in an important industry and aligns with our proven strategy of seeking strong and attractive companies in high-growth markets,” Omar Lodhi, partner and head of Southeast Asia at Abraaj, said in a statement.

Srisant Chitvaranund, Abraaj managing director, added, “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.”

The investment is Abraaj’s sixth from its Southeast Asia fund and its 29th investment in the region since 2005, according to the firm.

Abraaj has also been one of the few private equity players able to penetrate the Thai market, having recent success there despite its turbulent macroeconomic history.

In April last year, Abraaj exited Thailand-based Unitrio Technology in a trade sale to Japan’s NTT Facilities, part of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation, for an undisclosed amount – its third exit in the country in the preceding six months, Private Equity International reported earlier.