Korean capital flows bolster Apax Holdings’ big ambitions

July 28, 2018 | 15:54
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Apax Holdings Investment JSC is set to make headways in the years ahead on the back of ambitious growth plans.
korean capital flows bolster apax holdings big ambitions
Apax English's recent graduation ceremony

The company (ticker IBC on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange–HoSE) has completed its extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting on July 27, 2018, where a representative of South Korean investment fund management company Valuesystem was approved to join the company’s Board of Management.

The meeting also approved the plan on convertible bond issuance (second round for 2018) to raise sufficient capital for the Apax English training centre and Steame kindergarten chain expansion plans.

New resources to bolster strength

In April 2018, Vietnamese Minister of Finance Dinh Tien Dung and leaders of the Vietnamese financial and securities sectors presided over a major conference promoting investment to Vietnam in Seoul, South Korea.

The event was attended by more than 400 investors from diverse Korean investment funds, investment and leading insurance groups. On the occasion, Korean investors delivered the clear message that they want to seek for investment opportunities in Vietnamese peers to help realise the two governments’ common goal of scaling up Vietnamese-Korean trade to $100 billion by 2020.

Shortly after the event, Valuesystem Investment Management Limited and Korean investors under the company’s management finalised acquiring VND207 billion ($9.15 million) worth of convertible bonds issued by Apax Holdings issued in the first round of its 2018 bond sale, which was completed this June.

The company executives shared that if things go smoothly, the investor of the company’s second round of bond sale this year will also come from Korea. Thus, besides its major Korean shareholder Chungdahm Learning at the Apax chain of English teaching centres, Apax Holdings will have more Korean partners joining for shared future sustainable development.

IBC chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy said that he was quite impressed with the working style as well as the development story of Korea when he first met the executives of several Korean groups.

Apax Holdings aims to enable the Vietnam’s younger generations to grow into global citizens and avail themselves of support from international investors.

In his words, education is one of the crucial factors in Korea’s development success. Vietnamese people, like Korean ones, are very studious, which has brought Apax closer to its target of building a high-quality education ecosystem in Vietnam through the development of the Apax English training centre system, Steame kindergarten system, and the online training system that provides US-certified high school certificates.

Apax Holdings aims to enable the Vietnam’s younger generations to grow into global citizens and avail themselves of support from international investors.

Enhancing corporate governance

korean capital flows bolster apax holdings big ambitions
IBC chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy

Since the first cautious steps, the number of Apax English teaching centres has grown to 60, leading the Vietnamese market and set to hit 100 by the end of this year to match the growing need for quality English courses of children across the country.

Besides the number of its centres, Apax English has made constant efforts to improve teaching and teacher quality to retain its top position across Asia.

When it comes to corporate governance, driving towards professionalism, transparency, and efficiency is core to operational sustainability. IBC, henceforth, always pays due attention to leadership development.

Right after receiving the investment from Valuesystem, on July 27, 2018 the company held an extraordinary general shareholders’ meeting to add a member of Valuesystem Ltd.—Sung Ho Jung, director of the Trusted Investment division at Valuesystem Limited—to join the company’s Board of Management.

Having an executive with significant foreign experience on IBC’s board to work on corporate governance will help the corporation reach international standard management practices.

Ambitions to train a generation of global citizens for Vietnam

A multitude of factors stand behind Korea’s development miracle. One of the top factors is philosophy: education changes destiny.

Former Korean President Lee Myung Park once said he saw many similarities, from traditional culture to life philosophy, between Vietnamese and Korean people. Korea is very good at applying hi-technology in education for quality control and system expansion.

Korea has learnt from and been teaming up with the world’s leading education systems and then tried to acclimatise the system to fit Korean and Asian children. That is also the key IBC wants to use to build a world-class training network in Vietnam.

Recent results of student training courses at the Apax English centre system, a subsidiary of Apax Holdings, have made founders overjoyed.

The graduation ceremony held for 400 Apax English trainees early this month saw the children and their families were joyful for having had the chance to attend the English courses of Apax English to master the language on their journey to global citizenship.

Calling the fresh Apax English graduates ‘Apaxers,’ chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy encouraged the students’ thirst for learning and moving forward. “If you have a dream, dream big!” he said, adding that the quality of education is always a top priority at Apax English, as it is a responsibility towards students and is essential for the company’s development.

Vietnam’s population now exceeds 93 million. There are about 22 million students, according to figures from the Ministry of Education and Training. Provided that 10 per cent of them could afford paying $1,000-1,500 per English courses a year, the potential customer market might reach 2.2 million.

That is quite a “fertile land” for Apax English to expand its English teaching network across Vietnam, and the results are apparent.

At the company’s annual general shareholders’ meeting earlier this year, IBC’s leaders said its partner Chungdahm is Korea’s largest English training group with products promoted in many countries, including the US.

In the long-haul, Apax Holdings is set to lead Vietnam’s English teaching segment before reaching regional markets.

With a long-term vision, the capital flow from Korea has been and will support Apax Holdings’ plans to reach new heights in development. Once setting a solid foothold in the Vietnamese education system, the financial gains will be more inspiring.

"In the long-haul, Apax Holdings will not stop at building a high-tech education ecosystem—we are also looking forward to constructing a wholesome and comprehensive ecosystem where education is fundamental to human development and health. Having a safe and healthy lifestyle is vital for individual happiness. This path would be full of challenges, but with youth and commitments to transparent development, we will go ahead with the spirit of 'Let’s dream big, let’s strive,' gradually materialising the set targets," said IBC chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy.

By Tuong Vi

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