Keppel Capital Alternative Asset, the alternative asset subsidiary of Keppel Capital Holdings, announced that it has already raised more than half of the $500-million target for Keppel Education Asset Fund.
Keppel Education is a closed-end private equity fund that seeks to invest in Asia’s private education sector. Its investors include a sovereign wealth fund, an endowment fund, and a family office, according to Keppel’s announcement.
When fully leveraged and invested in private education-related real estate in the Asia Pacific region, the fund is expected to have assets under management of approximately $1.2 billion.
According to Keppel, the fund aims to build a balanced portfolio of brownfield and greenfield assets in different education sub-sectors, including the early learning and K12 segments, higher education and tertiary institutions, and on-campus accommodation.
The education fund’s first acquisition was a 70-per cent stake in premium bilingual K12 school property operated by Malvern College Chengdu located in Sichuan Province, China.
Malvern College (Asia) co-founder and chief executive Jacqueline So said the partnership will support the school’s overseas expansion plans.
The fund is also negotiating deals for education-related properties located in Australia, China, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.
Asia’s private education industry is a resilient and fast-growing sector supported by macrotrends, such as rapid urbanisation, an expanding middle class, and increasing focus on education, among others, said Keppel Capital CEO Christina Tan.
“Education assets offer investors attractive risk-adjusted returns, with potential downside risks protected by established tenants and long leases,” Tan said.
The fund, she added, continues to attract investors despite the pandemic, reflecting the confidence in and demand for this defensive asset class.
The fund manager, Keppel Capital Alternative Asset, was launched in 2019 with the focus of managing private funds investing in new alternative asset classes including infrastructure, senior living, and education.
Its parent firm, Keep Capital, has assets under management of approximately S$33 billion ($24 billion) as of end-2019. Its portfolio includes real estate, infrastructure, and data centre assets in key global markets.