Southeast Asia-focused private equity investor TAEL Partners has injected an eight-digit US dollar investment into Institution American Education Vietnam (IAE), marking its foray into the country’s education sector.
IvyPrep Education, member of IAE, will receive part of the investment to develop the College-Preparatory Schools (CollegePrep) model. TAEL’s investment will be used to set up training centres for Vietnamese students preparing to study in the US, according to a statement.
Based in Singapore, TAEL was set up in 2007 by three founding Principals – Michael Sng, Ati Sugiharti and Loong Mei Yin. The private equity player aims to be a preferred partner to ASEAN family-controlled businesses.
The firm typically creates sectoral platforms with assets throughout Southeast Asia. For instance, in food and agriculture, the firm has created a platform that includes Vietnamese agriculture firm Pan Group where International Finance Corporation (IFC) has also invested.
The private equity firm currently owns 20.24 per cent stake at Pan Group, 14 per cent at taxi firm Vinasun and 22 per cent at agriculture-focus company GTNFoods.
TAEL invests in minority and majority deals in growth firms with deal size ranging from $30 million to $50 million. As an investor, the firm is trying to ride on the region’s young population and a growing middle class, a key philosophy for many regional peers.
The PE firm had decided to raise a co-investment vehicle at a time when its $700-million fund, TAEL TWO, was almost 75 per cent deployed, a time when most private equity firms would start planning a follow-on fresh fund.
IAE was developed by educators who are former students from the US, UK, Australia and Germany. Currently, it is one of the largest private education institution in Vietnam with more than 40,000 students per year including universities, colleges, secondary schools, high schools, foreign language teaching and design institutes.