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Exclusive: Actis launches sale of private schools operator SIS

Private equity firm Actis has launched the sale of Singapore Intercultural School Group (SIS), an Indonesian private schools operator, EducationInvestor Global can reveal.

This publication has learnt that the sale process has recently started, marketing the company at a valuation in the $100 million region, which equates to around 17-20x its $5-6 million EBITDA, according to two sources familiar with the process.

“The price expectation for SIS can be considered a bit ambitious, especially in a financial climate that presents some elements of instability. However this is a good asset and the Indonesian market is growing at a fast pace. The sale is likely to attract a good number of private equity firms and possibly some trade buyers with or without a sponsor,” one of our sources said.

Rumors about the sale of SIS had started to circulate in December 2019, when DealStreetAsia reported that Actis was planning to divest a 75% stake in the company. According to press reports, informal talks were underway and a sale process was likely to begin in the second quarter of 2020. However, the project cooled off following the start of the pandemic and the process did not launch.

The sale would end a three-year holding period for Actis, which bought SIS as part of the portfolio of one of the funds acquired from Dubai-based liquidated private equity firm Abraaj Group.

Established in 1996 as Singapore International Schools, SIS operates a network of eight schools across Indonesia as well as additional schools in India, Myanmar and South Korea, with a total of around 5,000 students.

Actis is a private equity house with a focus on sustainable infrastructure. The firm was originally set up in 2004 as a spin-off from the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC), an organisation established by the UK Government to invest in developing economies.

In July 2019, Actis assumed management rights on Abraaj Private Equity Fund IV (APEF IV), a global buyout fund, and Abraaj Africa Fund III (AAF III), an investment fund dedicated to sub-Saharan Africa, after Abraaj collapsed following allegations of mismanagement. The transaction included 14 portfolio companies and took the firm’s assets under management to around $12 billion.

Actis declined to comment.

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