• Phinma unit to set up 2-3 Asean colleges before IPO


    PhinmA Education Network (PEN), the education unit of listed parent Phinma Corp., is planning to put up two to three colleges within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region before its planned debut or initial public offering (IPO) on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) either in 2017 or 2019.

    “We might not have as big a network as I want, but our goal is before the IPO to have at least two or three schools open internationally,” Chito Salazar, PEN president, told reporters on the sidelines of a higher education forum on Tuesday.

    “Our goal is to put up Phinma colleges all over Southeast Asia. We think we can do it. We want to be in Myanmar, Vietnam, and hopefully Indonesia,” he added.

    Salazar said the school operator is “in talks” with potential partners in Myanmar to set up a nursing and hospitality college.

    “We’re now trying to move into the international arena. [For Myanmar,] we’re looking at it. We’re still there and doing the feasibility study. We are in talks with the people in Myanmar. But nothing specific yet,” the PEN president said.

    He said PEN is also talking “to a group there that does English training.”

    “But we’d also like to put up colleges in Vietnam. What we want to do right now is look for a way to come in just to get a feel of the community,” Salazar said.

    The company has a long-term plan towards its planned IPO, which includes scouting for potential acquisitions — properties or schools — in the Metro Manila and Davao areas; development and ramping up of newly acquired Southwestern University (SWU) from 2016 to 2017; installing additional units of newly launched high-end senior high school Career Academy Asia (CAA) in Davao and Cebu by 2016; as well as setting up Phinma colleges in Asean.

    “We have not set a specific date [for the IPO]. We are open to do it as early as 2017 or as late as 2019,” Salazar said.

    Besides the IPO, the company may also generate funds to finance expansion from the sale of most of its 240-hectare landholdings in Cebu beside the SWU campus.

    “The 240 hectares, some of it, we will dispose of because we don’t need that much land. Some of it, we intend to develop ourselves. My guess is that most of it we will dispose of. It is sizeable enough,” Salazar said, without indicating how much they expect from the land sale.

    Earlier this year, PEN acquired a 67.45 percent controlling stake in SWU in a bid to expand in the middle income market. Under the purchase deal of SWU shares, Phinma will be able to add enrollees, brand value, and SWU properties including the Sacred Heart Hospital and the 240 hectares of land in Cebu.

    Besides SWU and CCA, PEN operates four major colleges — Phinma Araullo University, Phinma Cagayan de Oro College Inc., Phinma University of Pangasinan, and Phinma University of Iloilo.

    PEN is under Phinma Corp., the listed holding firm chaired by Oscar J. Hilado, who also chairs Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp.

    The parent firm’s businesses include manufacturing of galvanized and pre-painted iron sheets (Union Galvasteel Corp.); business process outsourcing for animation services, education (Phinma Education Network), real estate development and real property investment (Phinma Property Holdings Inc.).


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