Coun­try Gar­den Education mulls stock of­fer­ing in US

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By BLOOMBERG

Chi­nese prop­erty ty­coon Ye­ung Kwok-ke­ung is plan­ning an ini­tial pub­lic of­fer­ing of his pri­vate school busi­ness that could raise at least $200 mil­lion, sources with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said, as de­mand for education ser­vices soars in the world’s sec­ond-big­gest econ­omy.

Coun­try Gar­den Education Group, based in South China’s Guang­dong prov­ince, is con­sid­er­ing sell­ing shares in the United States, the sources added.

The of­fer­ing could take place as soon as this year, they said. The Foshan-based school op­er­a­tor is owned by Ye­ung’s fam­ily and man­age­ment of Coun­try Gar­den Hold­ings Co, the real es­tate de­vel­oper they con­trol, ac­cord­ing to one source.

The com­pany has also been weigh­ing Hong Kong as a list­ing des­ti­na­tion. The de­lib­er­a­tions are at an early stage, and there’s no guar­an­tee they will re­sult in a trans­ac­tion, the peo­ple said.

Coun­try Gar­den Education is plan­ning an of­fer­ing as the gov­ern­ment im­ple­ments strict home­buy­ing curbs to curb spec­u­la­tion in the red-hot do­mes­tic prop­erty mar­ket.

The na­tion’s education in­dus­try is ex­pected to ex­pand about 78 per­cent in the five years to 2020 to reach 2.92 tril­lion yuan ($426 bil­lion), fu­eled by the two-child pol­icy and an in­creas­ing de­sire for in­ter­na­tional school­ing by China’s grow­ing mid­dle class, ac­cord­ing to Deloitte.

At $200 mil­lion, the of­fer­ing would be the largest IPO in the US by a Chi­nese main­land school op­er­a­tor. China On­line Education Group raised $52 mil­lion in a June 2016 first-time share sale, the most re­cent such of­fer­ing from a Chi­nese education ser­vices com­pany in the US.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Coun­try Gar­den Hold­ings de­clined to com­ment. Coun­try Gar­den Education, which mar­kets its ser­vices un­der the Bright Scholar brand, op­er­ates 34 kinder­gartens, 18 pri­mary and sec­ondary schools and 15 ex­tracur­ric­u­lar cen­ters in China, ac­cord­ing to its web­site.

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