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UAE’s GEMS, Hassana acquire Saudi’s largest private school operator

UAE’s GEMS, Hassana acquire Saudi’s largest private school operator

GEMS Education and Saudi’s Hassana plan to build a portfolio of more than 50 schools in the kingdom

UAE-based GEMS Education and Hassana Investment Company, the investment arm of Saudi Arabia’s General Organisation for Social Insurance (GOSI), have set up a joint venture to expand the education sector in the kingdom.

Under terms of the JV, GEMS Education and Hassana plan to build a portfolio of more than 50 schools and provide education to more than 100,000 students across Saudi.

As an initial step, the JV partners signed an agreement to acquire the Ma’arif Education Group, the largest private school owner and operator in Saudi.

The schools consist of both national and international schools across the kingdom and have more than 22,000 students enrolled.

Dino Varkey, CEO, GEMS Education said: “The Ma’arif acquisition of 14 schools is an ideal platform from which to grow and we are incredibly excited about further expansion in the country.

“Saudi is one of the most attractive growth markets for GEMS Education and we are committed to supporting the education sector in the country.”

Saad Al-Fadly, CEO, Hassana Investment Company added: “The joint venture aims at generating strong returns on investment over the long term while providing best-of-class education services.”

Plans for the JV were first announced last year, with the Saudi government stating that GEMS and Hassana would invest up to $800m over the next 10 years to develop schools across the kingdom.

Overall, their portfolio of schools will create jobs for 16,000 people, of which approximately 40 per cent will be Saudi citizens, the government added.

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