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Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010

Nova, Geos now under investment fund's wing


Staff writer

Nagoya-based G. communication Co. last week sold Nova Corp. and Geos Corp., two major foreign language school chains, to an investment fund.

News photo
Bad times: A bankruptcy notice is posted at a Geos language school in Tokyo in April. SATOKO KAWASAKI PHOTO

The fund, Inayoshi Capital Partners, run by recently retired G. communication founder Masaki Inayoshi, acquired the stakes Friday by purchasing shares of G. education Co., a G. communication spokeswoman said.

Seven Geos language schools overseas, in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand, will remain G. communication subsidiaries.

"Both Nova and Geos will continue their operations, and we believe this will not affect the students," the spokeswoman said, adding both brands will be maintained.

G. communications took over the operations of Geos just six months ago after the chain filed for bankruptcy with net debts of ¥7.5 billion.

The corporation purchased Nova in 2007 after the school chain went bankrupt.

The spokeswoman said the decision to sell off the two school chains was made because Kobe-based food and beverage distributor Hanshin Shuhan Inc. is poised to become the parent company of G. communications and wants to focus on its mainstay business.

Tokyo-based Foody's Co. now owns a majority in G. communications but has agreed to sell its entire stake to Hanshin Shuhan.

According to the Asahi Shimbun, Foody's is planning to sell its stake partly because of expected financial difficulties due to the recent bankruptcy of its main creditor, Incubator Bank of Japan.

Foreign-language schools have seen a decline in sales and enrollment recently.

According to the trade ministry, average monthly sales at language schools fell to ¥5.1 billion this year from ¥8.1 billion in 2007. The corresponding monthly enrollment figure decreased to 335,827 from 619,642 students.



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