Malaysian government-linked private equity firm Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) recorded investments of up to MYR605.8 million ($166 million) in its financial year 2014, the latest investments being in technology and education.
The fund management company said in a statement Monday that the most recent investments included MYR54 million ($14.6 million) for a 60 per cent stake in Tranglo Sdn Bhd and MYR70 million ($19 million) for 70 per cent in Tenby Educare Sdn Bhd.
With those, Ekuinas’ cumulative investments since its inception amounts to 33 investments at MYR3 billion ($813 million).
Tranglo, a leading global provider of cross border airtime transfer service, marks the group’s venture into the technology, media and telecommunications industry.
Ekuinas chairman Raja Arshad Raja Uda said the investment in Tranglo would provide a platform for the group to be involved in sizeable cross border airtime transfer industry as well as help Tranglo to expand its business in cross border mobile money remittance services.
“This presents a unique opportunity for Ekuinas to back Tranglo to potentially become a global leader in international airtime transfer and mobile to cash remittance services,” Arshad said, noting that the mobile remittance services sector in Asia is worth $200 billion ($54 billion) and has great growth potential.
Kuala Lumpur-headquartered Tranglo has offices in Indonesia, the Middle East and Britain, and provides a platform for mobile communication companies to facilitate convenient and secure cross border transfer of prepaid credit and money remittance.
As for the investment in Tenby, the investment was done via its education arm, Ilmu Education Group Bhd (ILMU).
Ekuinas is looking to go for its second initial public offering exercise, this time with its education business.
“The investment positions Ekuinas closer to its proposed listing and realisation exercise for ILMU, targeted for end year 2015 or early 2016, with Ilmu now possessing a diversified portfolio of tertiary and K-12 education investments and a combined pro forma revenue of more than MYR377 million ($102 million),” Ekuinas said.
Tenby Group operates five international and private schools in Setia Eco Park, Ipoh, Penang, Miri and Johor Bahru. The education group has a strong reputation of providing high quality private education for the growing upper-middle income Bumiputera (native) and Malaysian families.
Tenby Group has a strong financial track record and reached audited revenue of MYR83 million and EBITDA of MYR18.9 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2014.
ILMU’s K-12 portfolio currently includes Asia Pacific Smart School and Asia Pacific International School in Subang, Selangor.
Ekuinas listed oil and gas outfit Icon Offshore Bhd on the Malaysian Stock Exchange last year, its first listing of a portfolio company raising MYR945 million ($256 million).
Icon Offshore, which Ekuinas has a 42.3 per cent stake in is reportedly on the lookout for acquisition targets by taking advantage of depressed asset prices.
The Star quoted sources saying that the Icon “is on the lookout, especially in the region, for bolt-on acquisitions” and that the acquisitions could be supported by Ekuinas.
This was despite Icon’s share price having fallen by more than 50 per cent from its IPO price of MYR1.85.
While Ekuinas is not keen on direct investments abroad, as that would go against its mandate of building local companies, it is open to supporting its investee companies grow abroad.