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Phinma eyes control of 2 more schools in Indonesia

/ 05:14 AM February 06, 2020

Armed with fresh equity from new institutional investors, Phinma Education Holdings Inc. is scaling up its footprint in Indonesia by taking over management control of its second university in Southeast Asia’s most populous market.

Chito Salazar, president and CEO of Phinma Education, said in a briefing on Wednesday that the group was in negotiations to manage Universitas Kartini in Surabaya, a port city in the island of Java.

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“There’s a third school in the picture, but we want to finish the one in Surabaya first,” Salazar said. “We will present the investment proposal in March. We hope to start running the school by third quarter of this year.”

Within the next 10 to 12 years, Salazar said Phinma’s vision would be to serve about 100,000 to 150,000 students in Indonesia, deemed as the group’s “most exciting” market outside the Philippines.

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Phinma debuted in Indonesia’s education space in 2019 with a deal to acquire a controlling stake in a company that manages tertiary educational institutions for Yayasan Triputra Persada Horizon Education. Phinma is now managing its first school in Indonesia—STIKES Kharisma in Karawang, West Java.

“We are not allowed to own the schools. Our schools in Indonesia are nonprofit,” he said.

Phinma group has been planning to grow this business across Southeast Asia. In Myanmar, it established Phinma Training Center in Yangon in partnership with Victoria Hospital, a technologically advanced hospital in Myanmar’s biggest city. It started offering short nursing and health care programs for nursing assistants in 2017. It is awaiting regulatory approval for an upgrade to a full college.

Phinma aims to invest in other Southeast Asian countries with similar demographics as the Philippines, like Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

“The continued intent to expand is evidence of our confidence in the sector, anchored on our mission of providing accessible education that leads to gainful employment and uplifts the lives of underserved youth and their families,” said Ramon del Rosario, president of conglomerate Phinma Corp.

Asked what kind of returns Phinma was targeting from its overseas foray, Salazar said their expectation was to produce the same level of double-digit return as that seen in the Philippines.

In the last 16 years since investing in the education space through a series of local acquisitions, the group now has seven local educational institutions with total student population of 74,187.

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TAGS: Chito Salazar, Indonesia, Phinma Education Holdings Inc.
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