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KinderWorld Education considering Singapore IPO: sources

Singapore

KINDERWORLD Education Group, which runs schools across South-east Asia, is considering a Singapore initial public offering that could raise about S$70 million, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The company is working with advisers on a planned IPO that could value it at about S$300 million, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the process is private. KinderWorld is aiming to sell shares as soon as the second half of the year, the people said.

South-east Asian school operators have been attracting interest from foreign investors including TPG and Swedish buyout firm EQT Partners AB, which are betting that rising incomes will translate into increased education spending. A listing of KinderWorld would follow an IPO of MindChamps PreSchool Ltd last year that raised S$49 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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Shares of MindChamps have fallen 1.2 per cent since the company began trading in Singapore in November, trailing the 4.4 per cent gain in the benchmark Straits Times Index.

KinderWorld was founded in 1986 in Singapore and expanded abroad starting in the late 1990s, its website shows. It now has 17 campuses in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand. The company's Pegasus International College, based in Danang, Vietnam, provides post-secondary education courses in fields including hospitality, tourism and culinary arts, according to its website.

Deliberations on a listing of KinderWorld are at an early stage, and details of the potential offering could change, the people said. A representative for KinderWorld declined to comment.

Malaysia's APIIT Education Group was sold to KV Asia Capital Pte and management this year in a deal valuing the company at RM725 million (S$245 million) including debt. Last year, EQT Partners bought a stake in English-teaching school ILA Vietnam, while TPG invested in Vietnam Australia International School. BLOOMBERG