PETALING JAYA: Government-linked private equity firm Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas), which is eyeing a listing of its education arm by year-end, has bought majority stakes in mobile transaction gateway services provider Tranglo Sdn Bhd and international and private school chain Tenby Educare Sdn Bhd for a total of RM124mil.
Ekuinas said in a statement that RM54mil was paid for a 60% stake in Tranglo and RM70mil for a 70% stake in Tenby.
Referring to the Tenby acquisition, Ekuinas chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said the investment would position the firm closer to its proposed listing and realisation exercise for Ilmu Education Group Bhd, which is targeted between end-2015 and early-2016.
Ekuinas’ education arm ILMU includes Asia Pacific Smart School and Asia Pacific International School in Subang, Selangor, Unitar International University, Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology (APIIT) and Kuala Lumpur Metropolitan University College.
“ILMU has a diversified portfolio of tertiary and K-12 education (primary and secondary education) investments, and a combined pro forma revenue of more than RM377mil,” said Abdul Rahman.
Tenby currently operates five international and private schools in Setia Eco Park, Ipoh, Penang, Miri and Johor Bahru. Tenby recorded a revenue of RM83mil and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation of RM18.9mil for the financial year ended June 30, 2014.
Besides education, the firm’s other key investments include assets in oil and gas (Icon Offshore Bhd) as well as food and beverage (Integrated Food Group).
Ekuinas’s investment in Tranglo marks its maiden investment in the technology, media and telecommunications industry.
Headquartered in Kuala Lumpur with offices in Indonesia, the Middle East and Britain, Tranglo provides a platform for mobile communication companies to facilitate cross border transfer of prepaid credit and money remittance in a fast, easy and secure manner.
“While the mobile remittance services sector is still relatively nascent, the potential is enormous for Tranglo given the huge international remittance market in Asia alone is currently estimated at US$200bil,” Ekuinas chairman Raja Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Raja Tun Uda said, citing the World Bank 2012 report.
“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,” he explained, adding that the firm was planning to expand Tranglo business into cross border mobile money remittance services.
Ekuinas said a total of RM605.8mil had been invested in FY14 including for the latest acquisition of stakes in Tenby Group and Tranglo. In total, the firm has 33 investments totalling RM3bil since inception in 2009.