Essel looks at PEs to fund growth of education arm

By : T E Narasimhan
Last Updated: Wed, Jun 27, 2012 19:55 hrs

Zee Learn, the education arm of the Subhash Chandra-led Essel Group, plans to take the private equity route to fund its expansion plans. The proposed investment of Rs 200-300 crore would help the company grow 25-30 per cent.

Pradeep Pillai, channel head, K-12, Zee Learn, said the company planned to invest Rs 200-300 crore to fund growth over the next 12-18 months. This, he added, would be through debt and equity. “We are looking at third-party funding, including private equity. Promoters would dilute some portion of their stake,” he said. However, he refused to specify the equity stake to be diluted.

The group plans to increase the number of Kidzee pre-schools from about 900 to 2,500 over the next three years, through franchisees. The number of Mount Litera Zee Schools (for higher secondary education) would be increased from 40 to 400 through franchisees and management control, Pillai said.

Zee Learn had recorded sales worth Rs 62 crore in 2011-12. “We plan to grow 25-30 per cent in the pre-school business through the franchisee route. In the school segment, our enrolments for the next two to three years would almost double every year, and we should have at least 75 schools signed up. In the next five to seven years, we plan to sign up 400-500 schools for the school solution business,” Pillai said.

He expects most of the growth to be accounted for by growth in enrolments, as well as expansion through franchisees. ‘‘We’ll augment this selectively with our own schools, pre-schools and expansion of BrainCafe Learning centres,’’ he said.

Zee Learn has signed two management contracts to brand and operate educational institutions under the Mount Litera banner. The organisation is also setting up its own schools.

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