Dubai's Al Masah Mulls London or New York Education Unit IPO

  • Company planning to work on sale in 2018 with Nasdaq an option
  • Education unit operates schools, nurseries in Gulf, Singapore

Al Masah Capital Management Ltd., a Dubai-based investment firm, is considering an initial public offering of its Al Najah Education Ltd. business in New York or London.

Al Masah plans to start working on the share sale in 2018 and list on the Nasdaq or in the U.K. capital depending on market conditions, Chief Executive Officer Shailesh Dash said in an interview. Al Najah, set up by Al Masah in 2012, operates schools and nurseries in the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Oman. He declined to give a potential value.

The investment firm is also planning an IPO of healthcare service provider Avivo Group and plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange next year, Dash said. The company expects to raise about $300 million from the sale, he said. MEED reported earlier this month that Al Masah had hired banks for the Avivo offering.

A number of companies in the U.A.E. are planning to list shares overseas after the plunge in oil sparked a selloff across Gulf Cooperation Council equity markets. While stock indexes have since recovered some losses, gauges remain highly correlated with crude, the region’s main source of income. Middle Eastern health-care providers, including Abu Dhabi’s Al Noor and NMC Health Plc., both listed shares in London.

Dubai’s benchmark stock index, the DFM General Index, fell 0.3 percent as of 10:57 a.m. local time, as more than half of its 36 members declined.

Al Masah, which was set up in 2010, manages about $700 million across private-equity, asset management and real estate, Dash said. The company last year hired senior bankers from HSBC Holdings Plc and Credit Agricole SA to help bolster its private-equity and advisory businesses. It also plans to start a new private-equity fund in 2018 focusing on sectors driven by consumer demand such as retail, healthcare and education, Dash said.

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