Taaleem operates multiple schools in Dubai, and has been eyeing opportunities outside as well. The IPO comes as another school owner and operator GEMS is in possible talks to sell the entity. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Another Dubai entity, Taaleem, will soon follow Empower onto a DFM listing. The Dubai school operator Taaleem plans to raise Dh750 million via the IPO, which will open November 10 for subscription and close November 16 for retail investors.

The share price range will be announced November 10 and the final price November 18.

Taaleem shares are expected to start trading on or around November 29. The company intends to pay a dividend of Dh67.5 million for the year ended August. "The dividend would be paid to shareholders before the closing date of the IPO," the statement said. "The company intends to pay dividends at least at the current levels and intends to grow its dividends in line with future earnings growth."

The provision to increase the share size is also there. “Taaleem has evolved over nearly 20 years into one of the largest premium schools operators in the UAE," said Khalid Ahmed Humaid Matar Altayer, Chairman. "It has been a true success story, delivered with an unwavering commitment to providing premium, quality, affordable education, a robust business model, and strong government partnerships across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Northern Emirates.

"The IPO provides an attractive investment opportunity for investors to participate in the next phase of the company’s growth through the expansion of its premium K-12 segment, providing the platform for Taaleem to educate, inspire, and empower the students of today and tomorrow.”

More schools coming
Taaleem 'predominantly' intends to use the proceeds from the IPO to expand its existing premium K-12 base through the potential rollout of four new schools in prime locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. This could consist of three schools in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi, including two under the 'Dubai British School' brand.

Existing schools include the Dubai British School (DBS) - Emirates Hills, the Uptown International School, and American Academy for Girls.

The Group also operates nine Abu Dhabi charter schools on behalf of ADEK (10,595 students enrolled), three 'Dubai Schools' under the PPP programme operated on behalf of KFE (1,940 students) and four PPP schools on behalf of ESE as part of the 'Ajyal Schools' initiative by the Federal Ministry of Education (2,406 students).

Interestingly, Taaleem's IPO hits the market just as speculation mounts that the other Dubai-based schools operator GEMS is planning a sale. Taaleem's shareholders include National Bonds, Al Mal Capital and others.

The company's revenues in the year to August were Dh623.33 million, well up on the Dh526.83 million same period last year. Profit for the same period this year came to Dh82.92 million against Dh78.27 million from last year.

"Given its position in the UAE and the competitive advantages, the Group has grown into a highly trusted provider of educational services to the local and expatriate population," a Taaleem statement said. This "may contribute to significant entry barriers for new educational service providers in the UAE K-12 premium education market. Competitors must not only spend significant capital to build new capacity but must also demonstrate the ability to deliver similar educational outcomes to compete in the UAE."

According to Alan Williamson, Taaleem's CEO, "With the additional capital being raised through our IPO, the ambition and drive of our people and the trust placed in us by our students, parents and wider communities, I'm confident our IPO will help drive a prosperous future for Taaleem."