East Africa: Braeburn finalises Hillcrest deal

Published 26/09/2022

Braeburn Schools Limited – which operates nine international school campuses in the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania – has sealed a deal to acquire Hillcrest International Schools in Nairobi, Kenya.

The move comes barely three years after the latter was bought by Dubai-based GEMS Education.

The deal completes the process of transfer of all the assets owned by the former Hillcrest Investment Limited, which began in January this year, but which has been delayed by regulatory approvals of the deal by various government agencies.

It will see the Hillcrest school with more than 1,000 pupils at the Nairobi campus begin operating under the management of Braeburn from January 2023, a statement issued by the two parties and widely quoted in the local media.

“After a very long and detailed process on September 14, 2022 Hillcrest Investment Limited has entered into a binding agreement to sell its assets to Braeburn Schools Limited,” said the statement.

“Provisional planning is underway, not least the succession planning with regard to the vacant position of Secondary School headteacher in January 2023,” the statement, signed by among others Braeburn director Rob Williams, founder Terry Childs and Hillcrest’s Jay Varkey, continued.

“Hillcrest Investment has entered into a binding agreement to sell its assets to Braeburn Schools”

The acquisition will see Braeburn Group of International Schools become one of the biggest education groups in East Africa, the latest addition bringing to 17 the number of ‘co-educational’ international schools under its wings, spread over 10 campuses in Kenya and Tanzania.

The schools provide British National Curriculum, IGCSE and GCE A-Levels with over 3,600 pupils, and largely cater for the expatriate community and to a lesser extent the local elite.

The development leaves GEMS with only one school in Kenya, the Regis School Runda, which offers local Competency Based Curriculum education having closed its Nairobi school and moved its students to Hillcrest in 2019.

The fate of its other school, GEMS International Cambridge School in Kampala, in neighbouring Uganda is unclear.

The Dubai group first moved into the region 10 years ago picking Kenya as its Africa headquarters in bid for expansion into the continent, away from Middle East and South Asia bastion. It had planned to set up schools in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.

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