Actis said to mull exit from Indonesian education player SIS Group

Photo by Jerry Wang on Unsplash

Global private equity firm Actis is said to be exploring an exit plan from its investment in Indonesia’s private school company Singapore Intercultural Schools (SIS Group), three people aware of the development told DealStreetAsia.

The official stake sale process is expected to start in the second quarter of 2020. However, informal discussions have been running with some interested parties including private equity firms and global players. Actis is also not said to have roped in an external advisory firm to run the process.

“The stake sale plan is expected to help Actis monetise its investment gain from acquiring Abraaj’s portfolios,” said one of the people mentioned above.

Actis holds interest in SIS Group through indirect ownership under an investment firm Southgate Ventures, which was managed by Abraaj’s Southeast Asia Fund II. After the liquidation of global emerging market fund Abraaj Group, Actis reportedly acquired the firm’s Southeast Asia Fund II and Africa Fund II, according to media reports in September 2019.

Earlier in July 2019, Actis had assumed management rights of Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV (APEF IV), a global buyout fund and Abraaj Africa Fund III, according to the firm’s announcement.

Abraaj Group is understood to have acquired 75 per cent stake in Indonesia’s SIS Group at the end of 2015 at a valuation of less than $60 million, said one of the people mentioned above. The remaining stake in SIS Group is still owned by its founder and chairman Jaspal Sidhu.

An Actis spokesperson said the firm did not comment on market speculation while an e-mail sent to SIS founder Jaspal Sidhu has not elicited a response at the time of publishing this article.

SIS Group, founded in 1996 by Jaspal Sidhu, offers a K-12 education programme, according to its website. The school operates seven schools in Indonesia, as well as one each in India, South Korea and Myanmar, with a total of almost 4,000 students.

Next year, SIS Group plans to open schools in China and Africa and expand further in India and Myanmar, according to a report by Forbes Indonesia. The Group also targets to open five more schools in Indonesia in Bandung, Makassar, Surabaya, Kalimantan and a new branch in Jakarta.

In 2004, SIS Group received loans from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, to support its expansion plan in Java and Sumatra islands. In 2016, IFC provided an extension of a $20-million financing facility for SIS Group with Abraaj as the main sponsor of the project, as reported by DealStreetAsia earlier.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.