Abraaj invests in Thai education provider KPN Academy

Abraaj has made an undisclosed investment in KPN Academy. Based in Thailand, KPN Academy is an education provider.

PRESS RELEASE

Thailand, 26 May 2014: The Abraaj Group (‘Abraaj’ or ‘The Group’), a leading investor operating in global growth markets, today announced the acquisition, through its Fund, of a stake in KPN Academy (‘the Company’), one of Thailand’s leading out-of-school education service providers.
Established in 2000, KPN Academy has grown from a music education provider to a multi- educational group, with a portfolio of private education institutions. The Company now has over 103 centers across Thailand, offering a variety of subjects including Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Social Sciences. Its music vertical – KPN Music – is one of the largest music education service providers in Thailand, with more than 500,000 students actively enrolled in its programs. In addition to providing private music education services across its centers, the Company has utilized its expertise to pioneer and implement bespoke music programs in the public education sector. As a testament to the strength of the Company’s platform, the music education curriculum developed has to date been implemented in over 250 government schools.
This marks Abraaj’s sixth investment by its current Southeast Asia Fund and 29th investment in the region since 2005. The Group continues to invest in resilient industry sectors such as education, and KPN Academy marks Abraaj’s third investment in education globally. To drive KPN Academy’s growth, Abraaj will leverage its deep expertise in the region and in the education sector. This includes its former investment in one of the world’s leading K-12 education providers, GEMS Education, and its current holding in Orca Global, the market leader for English language education service provision in Singapore through I CAN READ (ICR) branded centres. KPN Academy’s expansion will be pursued through expanding its footprint in Thailand and replicating its successful business model across new markets, both regionally in Southeast Asia and internationally.
The rising middle class across global growth markets is increasingly looking towards out-of-school education providers to provide additional services for their families. In Thailand alone, over the past five years, the number of students enrolled in out-of-school education is estimated to have increased by 39 per cent. KPN Academy is a well-established player in this attractive, high growth industry, with relatively high barriers to entry which makes for a compelling investment proposition.
Omar Lodhi, Partner and Head of Southeast Asia at The Abraaj Group, said: “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. We are delighted to be part of its journey as we focus on the next stage of development, by increasing KPN Academy’s presence in Thailand, the region and beyond. We are looking forward to partnering with Nop Narongdej and his management team, and will leverage our international and education expertise to support the continued growth of the business.”
Srisant Chitvaranund, Managing Director at The Abraaj Group, said: “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. We will leverage our collective resources to ensure that KPN Academy will become the leading out-of-school education service provider in the region.”
Nop Narongdej, Founder and CEO of KPN Academy, said: “I envision that this strategic partnership with The Abraaj Group relates not only to the investment, but also involves sharing know-how and opening new doors to create more business opportunities. KPN Academy is confident that our company and partnership will benefit from sustained growth because our core fundamentals come from solid foundations and decades of experience in the education sector. Aside from the business aspect, we also have the opportunity to be a part of helping society to build towards a future that will contribute to the prestige, and reputation of Thailand. This intangible endeavor is the reason that makes us most proud, and it is something that cannot be quantified solely by using absolute values.”

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