Tribal seeks £21m for education sector deals

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Tribal Group, a company that offers support services to state schools and local authorities, announced yesterday it wanted to raise £21m for acquisitions in its booming sector.

State spending on public services is rising and the Government plans to increase private-sector involvement in state education. Henry Pitman, Tribal's chief executive, said: "We are going through an incredibly buoyant time and we expect that to continue."

Over half the cash from the fundraising has been committed through a placing with institutional investors. The remainder, due from an open offer, is fully underwritten by Granville Baird.

The education outsourcing market is estimated to be worth £2.5bn, and this is forecast to double to some £5bn a year by 2005.

Tribal, which was formed in 1999 and floated earlier this year, provides services such as teacher training and payroll management to schools.

Tribal said turnover climbed nearly 300 per cent to £15.3m for the six months to 30 September, while underlying pre-tax profit rose to £2.1m, from £600,000.

The company announced it had bought APD Technical, which provides property management services to local authorities, for £4m initially, while £6m more could be payable over the next four years.

Mr Pitman said Tribal would go increasingly for large contracts and look at deals that outsource the work of local education authorities that are not failing – up to now only failing LEAs have been put out to tender to the private sector.