Stock - DFM / Dubai Financial Markets
Taaleem will be among the Dubai-owned enterprises making the transition to IPOs and a DFM listing. The process was launched by DEWA and then came Tecom Group. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: Taaleem Holding, which owns and operates some of the more prominent schools in Dubai, will be the next IPO and listing headed DFM’s way.

Shareholders on Monday (August 29) approved the conversion of the entity from a private joint stock company into a public one through the IPO, according to an advertisement placed in a newspaper. A book building process will follow and the wider public offered a chance to invest in the company ‘by way of a capital increase’.

In the ad, Taaleem confirms the transition into a ‘public joint stock company’ and the DFM listing. It informs creditors that they have the ‘right to object to the conversion process within a period of 30 days from the date’ of the notice. Creditors must notify the company by sending reasons for the objection raised, ‘in writing and by way of registered mail to the company’s head office’.

According to Taaleem’s website, it launched operations as Beacon Education in 2004 and the first of its three schools opened a year later. These offer the British and American curriculums as well as the International Baccalaureate Programme. Schools in the portfolio include Dubai British School, American Academy for Girls, Greenfield International School, and Uptown International School. 

In 2007, the National Bonds Corp. invested in Beacon Education and established ‘Madaares’ to launch new schools in the region. And in 2008, Madaares rebranded as Taaleem. (National Bonds is 100 per cent owned by Investment Corp. of Dubai.)

According to an analyst, “Taaleem is a true Dubai blue-chip given the schools in its portfolio. Given the sizeable demand for admissions across Dubai’s schooling category and future prospects, Taaleem’s IPO will also offer investors here a chance to widen their mix of categories.

"The city's population base is increasing and that will easily accommodate demand for more schools in the medium-term. Plus, if need be, the company could also consider opening in other markets too. Quality education always attracts a premium."

What would be interesting is to see whether other UAE based education providers would consider such a change via an IPO. In the recent past, there had been such talks, but those never progressed beyond a point.

Dubai keeps the IPO pipeline humming
It was in November last that Dubai announced the plans to roll out 10 IPOs from among its owned enterprises and raise the DFM market cap to Dh3 trillion. DEWA was the first of these, and the strategy has been to list blue-chips and pull in sustained shareholder support by offering solid dividend yields.