Apax Leaders determined to reopen HCMC English schools

By Tat Dat   November 18, 2023 | 05:30 pm PT
Apax Leaders determined to reopen HCMC English schools
Egroup chairman Nguyen Ngoc Thuy and CEO Dinh Xuan Tung speak to students' parents and investors at a meeting on Nov. 17, 2023. Photo courtesy of Egroup
Disgraced English language school Apax Leaders remains determined to reopen schools in Ho Chi Minh City despite its failure to pay on time debts.

"Ho Chi Minh City is a very challenging market, but we are determined to complete our plan to recover our business there," said Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, chairman of Egroup, the operator of Apax Leaders English centers.

So far only two centers have resumed operation even though the company had earlier said it would open 14 across the country, most of them in HCMC, by July.

The root of the delay is reportedly a severe cash shortage at the company ever since it was forced to refund VND20 billion ($824,234) in tuition to unsatisfied students’ parents.

That initial payment was only the first phase of an extensive repayment plan, and the company is late in completing the second phase, which has stirred further anger among parents.

There are still some 230 students’ parents demanding refunds, according to the parents’ social media group.

The majority of Apax Leaders schools were closed last year after students’ parents publicly boycotted the brand for failing to provide the quality of education it promised. Many accused the company of stealing their money after they paid for years of tuition fees in advance.

In October, a parent named Huong, who lives in HCMC's District 7, said she was supposed to receive VND10 million from Apax but she hasn't received a single dong.

She reached out to the school but has received no answers.

"Parents have wasted way too much time, efforts and money on Apax for over six months now but the company hasn't kept their promises," she said.

Another parent named Phuoc in District 3 said he is waiting to get VND16 million from the school in the second installment.

"We don't know anywhere else to go to get the money back. We really hope that the authorities will have solutions to make Thuy [Nguyen Ngoc Thuy, also known as Shark Thuy, chairman of Apax Leaders] fulfill his responsibility to pay us."

Apax staff also accused Egroup of delaying salary payments, while creditors and investors claimed that the company has been late in paying interest on loans.

As of now Egroup has reopened 38 Apax Leaders across the country, mostly in the north, with over 11,000 students reportedly now enrolled. Chairman Thuy has promised to repay creditors and investors their money over the next five years.

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