Balfour Beatty cashes in on groundbreaking Singapore school PPP

Saying the time was right to cash in on its investment, UK construction giant Balfour Beatty yesterday announced the sale of its 50% interest in a privately financed vocational college in Singapore, the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West PPP Project.

Its partner in the joint venture Gammon Investments Pte Limited, Jardine Pacific, also sold its 50% stake in the same transaction.

Having built the college in Choa Chu Kang, the pair have been responsible for its operation for the past nine years. Courses offered include business, hospitality, electronics and engineering.

The college PPP was bought for an undisclosed sum by infrastructure manager Whitehelm Capital on behalf of two Australian superannuation fund clients, MTAA Super and Prime Super. 

Officially opening the school in April 2011, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the ITE concept aimed to ensure that no Singaporean left school without the skills necessary to make a living.

"The aim is to develop every Singaporean to the best that he can be," he said. "Some are academically inclined, others are more talented in skills-based work."

Ion Appuhamy, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty Investments, said: "ITE College West was the first social infrastructure PPP Project of its kind in Singapore. Having built the project and successfully operated it for nine years the time is now right for us to realise our investment." 

Whitehelm Capital said ITE College West had more than 7,700 full-time students and functioned as a "business town concept".

"We look forward to a long-term partnership with ITE to continue the delivery of a world-class educational facility. ITE College West is a regional benchmark for a successful PPP model that rewards all stakeholders," said Saji Anantakrishnan, Whitehelm Capital’s Head of Australia and Asia.

Image: ITE College West is said to be Singapore’s first social infrastructure PPP (Erwin Soo/CC-BY-2.0)

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