The International Finance Corporation, the investment arm of the World Bank Group, invested $25 million in China Minsheng Education Group as a cornerstone investor in the company’s initial public offering on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, for which it aims to raise over $100 million.
“Investments in education help to bring more people into the workforce with in-demand skills,” Patrick Leahy, IFC’s regional head of industry for manufacturing, agribusiness services Asia, said in a statement.
“Our partnership with Minsheng Education will help improve access to quality higher education in China and create opportunities for young people from all backgrounds.”
IFC’s investment will be used to expand the company’s preparatory education programme for ethnic minority students, as well as to explore international collaboration opportunities and to strengthen its environmental and social best practices.
Minsheng Education is one of China’s largest private higher education groups in terms of student enrollment and had approximately 30,000 students in end-June 2016. The company has a footprint in Chongqing and Inner Mongolia.
China is IFC’s second largest portfolio country. Since its first investment in 1985, the firm has deployed and mobilised over $2 billion to support over 350 projects across 30 provinces, it said on its website. Among its favoured investments include those that fight climate chang, enable rural development, promote sustainable cross-border investments.
The IFC has recently committed capital to China-focused vehicles including The Carlyle Group’s Carlyle Asia Growth, Beijing-based Hosen Capital’s Hosen Investment Fund III and Shenzhen-based Maison Capital’s Maison China III.
In April last year, the IFC also teamed up with Apollo Global Management to form a platform to acquire distressed assets in emerging markets such as China and India. IFC and Apollo each contributed $500 million, according to PEI data.