Abu Dhabi: Alef Education, an Abu Dhabi-based edtech firm, is considering an initial public offering in the UAE as the number of student enrollments surges, according to people familiar with the matter.
The company, founded in 2015, has held preliminary talks with advisers about the potential listing and an offering could take place as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Discussions are at an early stage and Alef Education may decide not to proceed with a listing, the people said. A representative for the company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Parents in the UAE are among the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to educating their children. Dubai’s emergence as a post-Covid haven has drawn newcomers to the emirate, where private schools are mandatory for expatriate children.
Alef Education joins a number of private companies considering IPOs in the UAE, after a listings boom driven mostly by government-owned firms. Governments in the UAE and in Saudi Arabia have been looking to sell stakes in assets to expand their capital markets and attract new investors.
In 2022, surging oil prices and equity inflows helped Gulf have its second-best year on record for IPOs, with over $23 billion raised, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Activity has slowed this year with just $5.1 billion raised so far via listings. Dubai’s privatization drive went quiet earlier this year and Saudi Arabia also had a slow start.
Alef Education serves the kindergarten to 12th grade sector with its technology and services, which include a learning platform, curriculum design, professional development for teachers and artificial intelligence, according to its website. It currently serves schools in the UAE, the US, Morocco and Indonesia.
In November, Dubai private school operator Taaleem Holdings went public with a Dh750 million ($204 million) IPO. Its shares languished below the offering price until last month, when they surged almost 50 per cent. Shares are now trading 25 per cent above their listing price after the company reported a 34 per cent rise in profit.