Bahrain-based private equity institution, Addax Bank, has added Dubai-based Al Maaref school to its education platform, First Education Holding (FEH).
Al Maaraf is the third acquisition by FEH in 12 months, following on from the purchase of The Baby Academy in Egypt and Al Zahour School in UAE. It brings the firm’s total amount invested in the education sector to approximately $40 million.
FEH is focused on acquiring private schools from nursery age to Grade 12 across the Middle East and North Africa. The company now caters to more than 3,500 students across the three schools.
Akbar Bokhari, vice president in investments at Addax Bank, said firm targeted established schools with good reputations. He said Addax Bank particularly favoured schools with fixed assets, like real estate, in order to facilitate the use of leverage in the acquisitions.
Founded in October 2003, Addax Bank invests proprietary capital in private equity transactions across the MENA regions. Its strategy is to establish regional platforms in the financial services, hospitality, real estate, infrastructure, media, education and aviation sectors and then seek to exploit operational efficiencies.
The bank has a “strong proprietary pipeline of investments in excess of $100 million”, according to its chief executive officer and chairman of FEH, Yousef Al Essa. Its total transaction volume since inception has been $700 million.