Singapore: Maple Leaf to take over CIS

Published 26/06/2020

A deal has been struck by China’s largest education provider, Maple Leaf Educational Systems, to take over the Canadian International School in Singapore for SGD$680 million (£386 million).

CIS is one of Singapore’s largest for-profit international schools and has some 3,500 students enrolled across its two campuses.

“The acquisition of CIS is an excellent fit with our strategy to grow internationally”

In a statement, Maple Leaf said it will bring “a top-tier brand” into its portfolio of schools, most of which are located in China with a handful in Canada, Australia and Malaysia.

“The acquisition of CIS is an excellent fit with our strategy to grow internationally and gives MLES a base in the attractive international school sector in Singapore,” said Sherman Jen, chairman of Maple Leaf.

“Following the acquisition, our overseas schools will generate approximately 30% of MLES’s total revenue.”

Jen said that the combination of CIS and Maple Leaf will enhance the competitive position of the Group in the ASEAN region, and support Maple Leaf’s long-term growth and business prospects.

“In addition, MLES is developing its third campus in Singapore at Hillside, with a capacity for 800 students. We are excited to welcome CIS to our growing family of schools.”

So long as the deal is approved by shareholders and regulators, Maple Leaf will acquire 90% of CIS in the third quarter of this year, and the remaining 10% after the close of the academic year ending in July 2022.

According to Educational Investor, shares in the company rose by as much as 10.4% on 22 June – the biggest increase since late April.

The deal comes at a time when Chinese education companies are looking to increase their international operations.

Forbes reported that Hope Education Group, another China-based education service, unveiled plans in March to pay US$140 million for a 62% stake in Inti Education Holdings of Malaysia.

Maple Leaf was established in 1995 in Dalian and operates the largest network of private international schools in the People’s Republic of China.

As of March 2020, it operates over 100 schools including high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, preschools and foreign national schools located in China, Australia, Canada and Malaysia with more than 43,500 students enrolled in total.

The acquisition of CIS will add a capacity of 4,100 students to MLES’s current total capacity of approximately 67,200 students, bringing the enlarged group total student capacity to over 71,300.

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