OSLO: Sonans Holding AS, a leading Norwegian provider of private education services, expressed intention to launch a private offering of new and existing shares in the Company and to list the Company’s shares on Euronext Growth Oslo.
Sonans Gruppen is a leading private education provider in Norway. The Group was founded in 1989 to offer education services to private candidates for their Norwegian upper secondary school exams.
Today, Sonans Gruppen comprise Sonans Utdanning, offering private candidate exam preparation courses through online studies and at 14 campuses in Norway, and Bjørknes Høyskole, a private university college offering higher education online and at campus Lovisenberg in Oslo.
Both Sonans Utdanning and Bjørknes Høyskole score favourably on student and teacher evaluations, demonstrating the quality of the Company’s offerings.
The Company is also working with establishing Norwegian School of Technology, a vocational school aiming at meeting the large demand for high-quality practical programming expertise.
Sonans Utdanning offers private candidate exam preparations. A large number of Norwegian students are left with an incomplete diploma after upper secondary school.
Sonans Utdanning plays an important societal role by enabling students that have incomplete upper secondary school diplomas, lack specific subjects or lack necessary grades to qualify for higher education to pursue their educational aspirations.
Sonans Utdanning helps everyone, regardless of background and educational needs, to pursue higher education, thereby ensuring critical competence for society. Today, Sonans Utdanning is the market leader within the paying private candidate market in Norway.
Bjørknes Høyskole is a Norwegian private university college located in Oslo. In addition to its Oslo campus, Bjørknes Høyskole has a strong online offering, with a current online student share of 62%.
Bjørknes Høyskole is a rapidly growing challenger in the market for higher education, with a 20% CAGR in number of students from 2014 to 2020. A range of study programs are offered within the fields of psychology, social science and health. In addition, Bjørknes Høyskole aims to launch new programs within the field of business and administration.
The Listing will support Sonans’ strategy and ambitions, allowing the Company to strengthen its overall market awareness and improve the Company’s ability to attract, retain and motivate talented personnel, diversify and build a long-term shareholder base that can take part in the Company’s future growth and value creation and allow for a more liquid market for the Company’s shares.
The total revenue and adjusted EBITDA (NGAAP) in 2020 was NOK 518 million and NOK 155 million, respectively. The Group has a track record of growth, illustrated by sales and adjusted EBITDA CAGR of 16% and 20% since 2003, respectively.
The Sonans Utdanning business area constituted 73% of the Company’s sales in 2020, while Bjørknes Høyskole constituted 27%. Both the increasing share of online students and new campuses reaching critical mass has contributed to the strong and growing profitability.
The Offering in brief:
The Offering is expected to consist of a new share issue of NOK 200 million and a sale of existing shares in the Company offered by EMK Capital and certain other existing shareholders.
The net proceeds to the Company from the new shares issued in the Offering will be used to align the Company’s balance sheet to a public market setting and for general corporate purposes.
Eight cornerstone investors have, subject to certain conditions and for price per share of up to NOK 50.00, equivalent to a pre-money equity value of the Company of NOK 1,600 million, undertaken to acquire shares for a total amount of NOK 600 million in the Offering.
The cornerstone investors are i) DNB Asset Management (NOK 135 million), ii) Capital World Investors (NOK 100 million), iii) Creades AB (via endowment insurance) (NOK 80 million), iv) Handelsbanken Fonder (NOK 75 million), v) Kayne Anderson Rudnick (NOK 60 million), vi) Eika Kapitalforvaltning (NOK 50 million), vii) Holberg Fondene (NOK 50 million) and viii) KLP Kapitalforvaltning (NOK 50 million).
Subject to receiving the relevant approvals from the Oslo Stock Exchange, as well as prevailing equity capital market conditions, the Company is expected to have its first day of trading on Euronext Growth Oslo in the week commencing 15 February 2021.
ABG Sundal Collier ASA and Nordea Bank Abp, filial i Norge are acting as Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners in respect to the Offering and Listing (the “Joint Global Coordinators”).
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen is acting as legal counsel to the Company. Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm is acting as legal counsel to the Joint Global Coordinators.