By Arra B. Francia, Reporter
AYALA Corp. (AC) is strengthening its foray into the education sector with the acquisition of majority of National Teachers College (NTC), a transaction it believes would be strategic for its proposed merger with the Yuchengco group’s education business.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange on Thursday, the country’s oldest conglomerate said its wholly owned unit AC Education, Inc. (AEI) has signed a share purchase agreement to buy around 96% of NTC, after it was selected as the winning bidder for the tender offer of the company’s stocks.
Founded in 1928 in Quiapo, Manila, NTC specializes in teacher education, and was the first to offer general education courses up to the Bachelor of Science in Education program. The school’s student population currently stands at over 10,000, around 3,500 of whom are taking up education as a degree and at the graduate level.
NTC has a Level III accreditation from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission Accreditation, which recognizes the school’s quality standards for its elementary and secondary education programs.
“We believe that NTC can play an integral role in our efforts to contribute to a better education system in the Philippines, because of NTC’s long and successful track record in producing quality educators who go on to teach in both public and private schools,” AC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.
For its part, NTC Chairman Rolando de Castro said the partnership with the Ayala group will help the school move forward with its vision to become a world-class institution.
“In selecting the buyer who shall acquire the shares of NTC, it was important to look not only at the capability to expand the school’s horizons, but also at the alignment of values and vision for raising our Filipino youth,” AC quoted Mr. De Castro as saying.
AEI currently operates the largest chain of stand-alone private high schools through Affordable Private Education Center (APEC) Schools, accommodating 16,000 students across 23 locations in Metro Manila, Cavite, Rizal and Batangas. The company also controls University of Nueva Caceres in Naga City with 8,000 students, and is one of the oldest private schools in the Bicol region.
With the acquisition of NTC, AEI’s schools will have a total student population of around 34,000.
AC has beefing up its education portfolio, disclosing at the start of the month negotiations to merge AEI with iPeople, Inc., which has under its network Mapua University, Malayan Colleges Laguna and Malayan Colleges Mindanao.
“We are committed to investing in further quality at NTC, and building on its traditions of excellence and inclusiveness… We believe that NTC will be a key strategic element in the merger we have proposed between AC Education and iPeople,” AEI Chief Executive Officer Alfredo I. Ayala said in a statement.
The Ayala and Yuchengco groups said they will complete due diligence for the proposed transaction by the first quarter of 2018. Should the merger push through, iPeople will be the surviving entity, and will cover the whole spectrum of the education cycle.
AC’s attributable profit grew by 18% to P23.2 billion in the first three quarters of 2017, following a 21% uptick in revenues to P170 billion.
Shares in AC gained 0.77% or P8 to close at P1,042 each at the Philippine Stock Exchange on Thursday.