GEMS sells off Kenyan schools in East African repositioning

The company which set up its first school in East Africa – the GEMS international School Nairobi – in 2013, acquired Hillcrest International Schools in 2019. It now says that it had reached an agreement with a local company Braeburn Schools Limited to transfer ownership of the schools to the Nairobi based company.

The elite school establishment said in January it had reached an agreement to sell its Hillcrest brand it acquired only three ago to Braeburn, one of the oldest international school companies in East Africa, and which runs schools in Kenya and Tanzania.

“The sale transaction is subject to various conditions, including due diligence by Braeburn, negotiation of formal agreements, and the parties obtaining all regulatory approvals, including those from the Ministry of Education and the Competition Authority of Kenya,” said Terry Childs, Braeburn’s founder and chairman.

“The sale transaction is subject to various conditions”

Following the deal, the group which also owns Braeside brand will acquire the Hillcrest that includes early, preparatory and secondary schools, and will not change the brand name, according to Childs.

“Students, parents, and our employees can look forward to a smooth transition and a progressive world-class international school aimed at, not just our current children, but their children as well,” the chairman said.

The transfer process is however expected to be completed later this year in time for the 2021-22 academic year, he disclosed.

The development leaves GEMs with only one two schools in East Africa including Regis School in Nairobi and GEMS International Cambridge School in Kampala, Uganda.

The company first moved into the region 10 years ago choosing Kenya as Africa headquarters in bid for expansion into the continent away from Middle East and South Asia bastion. It had planned to set up schools in Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria.

Braeburn operates 16 “co-educational” international schools spread over nine campuses across Kenya and Tanzania. The latest development could also leave Braeburn as the largest international British curriculum schools group in Eastern Africa.

It has a total of 3,600 pupils, many of them from expatriate families working with international organisations and diplomatic missions in the region and beyond.

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