August 7, 2018 / 5:11 AM / a year ago

Bahrain fund Mumtalakat exits U.S. firm Nobel Learning Communities-CEO

DUBAI, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Bahrain's sovereign wealth fund, Mumtalakat, has sold its investment in U.S. private education provider Nobel Learning Communities, as another U.S. school operator Spring Education Group acquired Nobel earlier this month.

Mumtalakat invested in Nobel in 2015, partnering with Manama-based alternative investments manager, Investcorp , which also announced the sale of its stake in Nobel earlier this month.

Mumtalakat, which invests locally and abroad, has used the proceeds from the stake sale to pay down debt, Chief Executive Officer Mahmood AlKooheji told Reuters in an interview. He did not disclose the value of the deal.

The fund also holds the state's stakes in Bahraini companies including Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) and telecoms company Batelco, with total assets of $15.4 billion. It has investments in over 60 local and international companies across 11 sectors, of which 65 percent are in Bahrain and the region, 29 percent in Europe and 6 percent in the United States including a 62.55 percent stake in McLaren Group Ltd.

Mumtalakat is also a shareholder in Blackstone-backed, Middle East education firm GEMS, which was slated for an initial public offering this year, but was delayed after Dubai unexpectedly decided to freeze tuition fees, leading to forecast adjustments for the company.

"I think the company is still working on it. For us we frankly we do not have the rush like any other fund manager, an exit timing," AlKooheji said about the IPO.

While Mumtalakat still finds the education sector attractive, the fund is also interested in healthcare, technology and renewables, he said. (Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh and Saeed Azhar; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)

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