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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Amanat Holdings plans expansion beyond Arabian Gulf markets 

Company is seeking investment opportunities in health and education sectors

"Investing in the GCC’s K-12 private education market is highly attractive; especially in the UAE, where expatriate families, a young population and growing interest from middle and higher income citizens are expected to increase demand for private school enrolment,” Shamsheer Vayalil, vice-chairman and managing director of Amanat says.  Pawan Singh / The National
"Investing in the GCC’s K-12 private education market is highly attractive; especially in the UAE, where expatriate families, a young population and growing interest from middle and higher income citizens are expected to increase demand for private school enrolment,” Shamsheer Vayalil, vice-chairman and managing director of Amanat says.  Pawan Singh / The National

Amanat Holdings, a Dubai-based investment company specialising in education and health care, plans to expand its footprint beyond the Arabian Gulf region.

The company, which has traditionally invested in the top two regional economies of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, has revamped its strategy, it said in the statement on Monday to Dubai Financial Market, where its shares are traded.

Amanat will now actively seek “significant minority and majority stakes” exclusively in heatlh care and education in the new markets, it said.

“We are entering a new chapter for Amanat with a clear and unique value proposition centred on education and healthcare sectors in the GCC and beyond," Shamsheer Vayalil, Amanat's vice chairman and managing director said. "We will continue targeting leading companies with sustainable competitive advantage and strong growth prospects.”

Investment companies and private equity firms are targeting assets in the health care and education sectors, which are considered high-growth segments, as the region's population grows and along with need for advanced healthcare.

Amanat’s current portfolio of investments is split equally between health care and education with 51 per cent of those investments in Saudi Arabia and 49 per cent in the UAE.

Over the past three years, Amanat has invested in four deals and deployed a total of Dh1.1 billion of its Dh2.5bn paid-up capital in the GCC. Since December last year, the company has invested almost 16 per cent of its capital as it actively seeks investments.

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Last month, the company announced an acquisition of 35 per cent economic interest in Abu Dhabi University Holding Company, a market leader in the private higher education in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

Amanat also recently became the largest shareholder in Taaleem Holdings, one of the UAE’s largest providers of K-12 education, by acquiring an additional 5.3 per cent stake to bring its total ownership to 21.7 per cent in the company.

The company in March moved Dh700 million of its cash into Sharia-compliant deposits in banks in the UAE from conventional accounts in order to transform itself into a company compliant with Islamic finance.

“The health and education sectors are both already acknowledged by scholars as being consistent with established Sharia practices so our decision to embrace compliance is a natural and progressive step that supports our mission and vision,” Hamad Al Shamsi, the chairman of Amanat, said in a bourse filing at the time.

After transferring the Dh700m, the company’s remaining cash in conventional accounts stands at 27 per cent of the total. That is below the 30 per cent threshold required to be counted as a company complying with Islamic principles.

The company said that its Sharia-compliant deposits and investments stand at Dh1.8bn, representing 73 per cent of its current total assets.

Amanat in February posted a 10 per cent increase in full-year 2017 net profit, boosted by income from associated businesses.

Net income for the period rose to Dh42.3m, while its revenue grew 6 per cent year-on-year to Dh89.5m. Excluding a one-off charge, income from Amanat's associate businesses rose 65 per cent to Dh33.3m, it said at the time.

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