Sylvan Learning, Inc. Announces Signing of Seven Area-Agreements in Middle East

Existing Franchisee Purchases Rights to Develop Seven Countries; Agreement Supports Sylvan's Goal to Expand International Presence

BALTIMORE, April 14 // PRNewswire // -- Sylvan Learning, Inc., North America's most recognized provider of supplemental education, announced today widespread expansion in the Middle East. Mohamed A. Dobashi, Associate Teaching Professor at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and his various partners, purchased rights to open Sylvan Learning Centers in two emirates (Abu Dhabi and Dubai) of the United Arab Emirates, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Bahrain, the State of Qatar, the State of Kuwait and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia -- a market size of approximately 120 million people.

Dobashi opened his first Sylvan Learning Center in Qatar in 2007 and, most recently, Dubai in early March 2009. "To ensure a seamless introduction of the brand in the Middle East, I hired individuals from Sylvan Corporate Centers in the United States to run our centers to ensure they mirrored Sylvan's 30-year tried and true model," said Dobashi. "To date, the centers in Qatar and Dubai have been extremely successful financially, while filling an education gap this region was suffering from, so we look forward to expanding our presence throughout the region."

Overall, Sylvan Learning's franchise sales grew more than 150 percent in 2008. Despite the challenging economy, Sylvan Learning sold a total of 94 domestic franchise territories in 2008 compared to 37 territories in 2007. Strong sales are a result of a strategic decision by Sylvan Learning to focus on franchising to local entrepreneurs and business operators who can respond to the particular needs of each community while utilizing the tools, resources and brand equity of the Sylvan name.

"The impressive results of our franchising efforts across the globe illustrate the priority families continue to place on supplemental educational services," said Jeffrey Cohen, president and CEO of Sylvan Learning, Inc. "Coupled with a proven concept that has been refined over 30 years, owning a Sylvan franchise offers personal and professional satisfaction few other occupations can match."

This recent agreement with Dobashi highlights Sylvan's efforts to grow the brand in countries outside of the United States and Canada. The company's international efforts are growing as noted by this agreement, and its domestic expansion has also been growing despite the challenging economy in the U.S. Since January 2009, Sylvan has signed 18 new franchise agreements for territories in Arlington, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Salt Lake City.

There are additional opportunities in hundreds of communities across the U.S. and Canada for prospective franchisees to purchase a territory and start their own Sylvan Learning Center. Sylvan also has identified more than 40 existing corporate-owned centers in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, Milwaukee, Orlando, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Salt Lake City and Washington D.C. that the company is interested in converting to franchised centers. In those markets, interested franchisees have the potential to generate revenue from these existing centers ranging from $200,000 to $1 million.

Sylvan franchisees benefit from a $40 million advertising and marketing program designed to drive enrollment and conversion. In addition, all franchisees experience an unparalleled training program that prepares them, with or without educational experience, with the tools they need to succeed as business owners.

"Despite an economic environment where many businesses are struggling in the U.S. and abroad, the supplemental education market is proving resilient, and as a result, there is increased interest by entrepreneurs," said Curt Hapward, Sylvan Learning's vice president for franchising. "With brand awareness twice as strong as any competitor in the industry, our franchisees benefit from Sylvan's proven success."

Sylvan currently operates nearly 1,200 centers in 49 states in the U.S. and six provinces in Canada and has served more than two million students since 1979. In 2008, Sylvan Learning was ranked number 57 in Franchise Times magazine's "Top 200 Systems" based on total number of units and has been ranked 24 times in Entrepreneur magazine's "Franchise 500 Ranking," the industry's premier franchise ranking.

About Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning is the leading provider of in-center, online and at home tutoring to students of all ages, grades and skill levels. With 30 years of experience and nearly 1,200 centers located throughout North America, Sylvan's proven process and personalized instructional methods have inspired more than two million students to discover the joy of learning. Sylvan's trained and certified instructors provide individual instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, study skills and test-prep for college entrance and state exams. Sylvan helps transform unique kids into uniquely inspired learners with the skills to do better in school and the confidence to do better in everything else.

SOURCE Sylvan Learning, Inc.

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