Paramount Corp to buy 66% in R.E.A.L Education

KUALA LUMPUR : Paramount Corp Bhd has proposed to acquire a 66% equity stake in R.E.A.L Education Group Sdn Bhd for RM183mil cash as part of its strategy to expand its education business.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia on Wednesday, Paramount Corp said it has entered into a share purchase agreement with Character First Bhd for the proposed acquisition of 66% stake, or 7.13 million ordinary shares of RM1 in R.E.A.L Education, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Character First.

“The proposed acquisition is in line with the Paramount’s 5-year strategy to expand its private and international school business to new geographical locations and the more affordably priced segment, and to move downstream in to the kindergarten segment.

“The proposed acquisition of R.E.A.L Education will allow the group to accelerate its growth plans in addition to its other organic growth plans,” Paramount said.

The group said the purchase consideration would be funded through a combination of internally generated funds and bank borrowings, the exact mix of which would be decided by the board at a later date taking into consideration the group’s gearing level, interest costs as well as internal cash requirements for the group’s business operations.

R.E.A.L Education is involved in the business of providing educational services through its three key Brands, R.E.A.L Kids, R.E.A.L School and Cambridge English for Life (CEFL), the REAL Education group operates pre-schools, private schools, international schools and English language centres in the country.

Currently, the R.E.A.L Education Group has a total student population of 18,000 and a total workforce of 1,500 teachers and staff across its network of 30 child enrichment centres, six private schools and 60 English language centres.

Paramount said the proposed acquisition was subjected to approval of the Education Ministry for the transfer of shares between Character First and Paramount among others.

The company said the proposed acquisition was not subject to the approval of the shareholders of Paramount.