Dubai school operator Taaleem joins Middle East IPO boom

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Dubai private school operator Taaleem Holdings PJSC is set to raise as much as $204 million in an initial public offering, the latest in a flurry of new share sales in the Middle East.

The firm set the price range at 2.95 dirhams ($0.80) to 3 dirhams apiece, according to a statement on Thursday. It plans to sell up to 254.2 million shares, or about a 25.32 percent stake, with 5 percent reserved for the Emirates Investment Authority.

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Taaleem’s IPO is a rare private sector listing in the United Arab Emirates where deals by state-owned firms have dominated so far this year.

The company runs 26 schools across the country, offering British and American curricula as well as the International Baccalaureate.

Parents in the UAE are among the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to educating their children, contributing to a glut of private schools. Dubai’s emergence as a post-Covid haven has drawn expatriates to the emirate, helping prop up demand.

Taleem plans to use proceeds from the IPO mainly to roll out four new premium schools in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It plans to maintain dividend at current levels and grow its payout in line with future earnings growth.

The firm joins others rushing to the market in the Middle East, a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy market for new share sales.

A surge in oil prices at the start of 2022, as well as increased investor inflows, led to a flurry of listings in the region, which notched up its best first half on record for stock-market debuts.

Dubai’s Emirates Central Cooling Systems Corp. on Wednesday drew $34 billion in orders for its $724 million offering, and Americana Restaurants International Plc, the Middle Eastern operator of KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants, is also set to list.

The subscription period for Taaleem’s IPO will open November 10, final pricing will be announced November 18 and the company will debut in Dubai on November 29. EFG-Hermes and Emirates NBD Capital are the lead managers for the offering.

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