UAE's Gems Education acquires Ma'arif, will build 50 Saudi schools
Gems and Saudi JV partner Hassana Investment Co have acquired Ma'arif Education Group in a $400-million deal
Nasdaq Dubai-listed Gems Education, led byfounder Sunny Varkey, and its Saudi Arabian joint venture partner Hassana Investment Co will build more than 50 schools in the kingdom following their acquisition of Saudi school operator Ma’arif Education Group, with the venture's new schools to serve 100,000 students.
Bloomberg reported in March that Ma’arif's acquisition could be worth about $400m (AED1.4bn), and Gems' chief executive officer, Dino Varkey, said it would provide the UAE company “a prime platform for our growth in the country”.
Hassana Investment Co's CEO, Saad Al-Fadly, added: “The joint venture between Gems and Hassana is a formalisation of our plan to invest in the education sector in Saudi Arabia, and [supports our] ambition of generating strong returns on investment in the long run while also providing best-in-class education services.”
Gems Education announced its JV with Hassana Investment Co in October 2018 as part of Dubai’s Future Investment Initiative.
Worth $800m (AED2.9bn), the deal was made with the aim to build a network of new schools for 130,000 students across the kingdom, helping create up to 16,000 new jobs, with 40% of the candidates to be Saudi nationals, according to a report by Construction Week's sister title, Arabian Business.