Private university operator Laureate Education has announced a deal to “transfer control” of its operations in Honduras, Central America, to Fundación Nasser, a non-profit foundation.

Fundaempresa, which manages Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC) and Centro Universitario Tecnológico (CEUTEC), will be taken over by Fundación Nasser in the first half of 2021, Laureate said in a statement, subject to regulatory approval.

UNITEC and CEUTEC collectively enrol more than 23,000 students in technical, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in health, business, communications, engineering and information technology. UNITEC, founded in 1986, is a not-for-profit institution with two campuses managed by Fundaempresa. Founded in 2005, CEUTEC specialises in degree programmes for working adults, which are offered across its seven campuses.

Fundación Nasser has more than 20 years of experience in Honduras, having developed and implemented initiatives focused on education, social development and entrepreneurship in Honduras.

Commenting on the transaction, Eilif Serck-Hanssen, president and chief executive of Laureate, said: “We are proud of what we have achieved in developing these two highly regarded operations. Our UNITEC and CEUTEC teams have contributed significantly to the accessibility of higher education in Honduras, while also fostering social mobility and creating an enduring impact on the lives of their students, and I believe that Fundación Nasser’s shared values with Fundaempresa make it the ideal partner to continue with this progress.”

UNITEC and CEUTEC will remain part of the Laureate International Universities network until the closing of the transaction.

Itau is acting as the exclusive financial advisor to Laureate, and Holland & Knight and Melara & Associates are acting as legal advisors.

Meanwhile, Laureate has announced a $300 million debt buyback, in which it will look to purchase its 8.25% senior notes from bondholders at a price of 100% of the principal amount using proceeds from the sale of its assets in Chile and Malaysia.

The offer will expire at 11:59pm, New York City time, on 10 November, 2020, unless Laureate decides to extend the period.

Laureate’s share price climbed more than 2% on the back of the announcements, but is down more than 20% year-to-date despite a series of multibillion-dollar divestments.

This year, Laureate has also offloaded its operations in Brazil, Australasia and the online healthcare space in a bid to raise money to clear debt from its balance sheet.

Date published: 14 October 2020

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