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5 March 2010

Singapore’s Raffles to invest in Malaysia’s Iskandar

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Singapore-based Raffles Education Corp Ltd (REC), which aims to set up a multi-institutional education campus at Iskandar Malaysia by 2011, hopes to invest about 200 million ringgit (1$=3.4 ringgit) in the proposed venture over the next five years as part of its move to fortify its education business in the region, the StarBiz reported.

Chairman and CEO Chew Hua Seng said in order to set up the campus, they needed to get the approval from Higher Education Ministry which would take about six to nine months.

“After that, we need also to register the programmes which will be offered and, in all, the approval for a licence will take a year or so,” he said after a media tour of REC’s campus – Oriental University City (OUC) – here.

“For investment, REC will need to factor the cost of land and buildings, among others, and we estimate the investment in Iskandar will probably be about 200 million ringgit spread over a five-year period. During this period, we hope to enrol about 5,000 students.”

Oriental University City Ltd (which owns OUC) is a wholly owned subsidiary of REC. For the proposed development, REC would be collaborating with Education@Iskandar Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of Iskandar Investment Bhd, which in turn is 60 percent owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Khazanah executive director Ben Chan said it was not a back-to-back deal as its units handling the deal involving OUC and Raffles University were different entities.

Asked what role Khazanah would assume by buying the 10 percent stake, Chan said it would exercise its right as a shareholder which included participating at board level meetings and leave the education part to REC’s expertise.

Chan said he hoped the acquisition of a stake in Oriental University City Ltd would be finalised by the first half of this year. Upon completion of the deal, Khazanah and REC would list OUC on the Hong Kong exchange by Aug 31, 2013.


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