Lausanne, 27 November 2014 – Debiopharm Investment SA (Debiopharm), based in Lausanne, Switzerland, announced today its investment as a minority shareholder in the Haut-Lac International Bilingual School in St-Légier (VD). Their financial backing will assist the school in the realization of its long-term development plans. The founder-directors of this family business remain majority shareholders and will continue as leaders determining school strategy and curriculum.
Haut-Lac International Bilingual School (French-English), founded 20 years ago by two couples already active and experienced in the field of education, Grainne and Jean-Louis Dubler and Anne-Marie and Neil Harwood, began with a class of 13 students in 1993. Today it welcomes 630 students aged from 3 to 18 years representing 45 nationalities, placing it amongst the top five private schools in Vaud. The school is accredited by the Council of International Schools and offers the programs of the International Baccalaureate (the Middle Years Program and the Diploma Program). The IB Diploma is recognized by higher education institutions in Switzerland and throughout the world.
With more than 150 employees, this quality educational establishment is one of the biggest employers in the commune of St-Légier. The 100 members of the teaching staff, many of them multilingual, come primarily from Switzerland, France, the UK and the USA, as well as Belgium, Canada, Germany and Ireland.
The Infant and Primary classes, located in premises in Vevey until the summer of 2014, moved to St-Légier at the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, not far from the Secondary campus which was inaugurated in 2004. The new eco-campus, equipped with solar panels, meets the standards of the Swiss “Minergie” certificate and is environmentally friendly. Part of the original Infant campus in Vevey has been refurbished to house Haut-Lac’s latest project, a bilingual nursery welcoming children from the age of 18 months.
The recently completed Infant/Primary building comprises four levels, incorporating more than 30 classrooms, as well as a number of specialist rooms (art, music, science and technology laboratories), a library, a triple gym – one of the largest sports complexes in the canton, and a dining room which can be converted into a theatre/auditorium.
As for the surrounding open spaces, they have been designed with outdoor learning in mind. They include a biotope and a Discovery Garden for young learners.
Following its recent investment in Coorpacademy, based at the EPFL, Debiopharm Investment is thus strengthening its position in the educational and training sector. “Debiopharm, with its strong belief that education, along with health, are significant contributing forces towards improving people’s way of life, could not remain indifferent to Haut-Lac International Bilingual School,” confides Thierry Mauvernay, Delegate of the board of Debiopharm Group. “We were attracted by this school’s exceptional management team, focused not only on offering students of all nationalities the greatest chance of succeeding in their IB examinations, but also giving them a fantastic start in life. In addition, a school like Haut-Lac, where professionalism and values are closely intertwined, is a great asset for the international development of our region.”
For Anne-Marie Harwood, co-founder and Head of the Secondary School, “the Haut-Lac Directors are pleased to have found in Debiopharm, a respected local family-run business, a long-term partner with similar values, to share and support our passion for education and the belief that the well-being of people stands at the center of what we do.”
A new independent member has been invited to join the Board of the school in the person of Professor Pierre Dillenbourg, Director of the Center for Digital Education at the EPFL and former primary school teacher. Jean-Louis Dubler, co-founder and director, confirms that, “our association with Professor Dillenbourg will assist the school in remaining true to its stated aim of providing a challenging educational program for all our students.”
About Debiopharm Investment
Debiopharm Investment SA pursues a mission of preserving, diversifying and supporting the sustainable growth of Debiopharm Group, a biopharmaceutical development company based in Lausanne (Switzerland), through a comprehensive investment strategy centered on three areas of activity: Finance (portfolio management, currency hedging), Real Estate (residential and commercial) and Private Equity.
The Private Equity team focuses primarily on investment diversification, managing a portfolio of funds and direct equity investments, as minority shareholders, in the capital of pioneering start-ups as well as small and medium-sized European companies.
Our entrepreneurial background, as well as our willingness and capacity to be long-term partners alongside the teams in which we invest, are the established pillars of our commitment.
For more information about Debiopharm Investment, please visit: www.debiopharm.com
About Haut-Lac International Bilingual School
Haut-Lac International Bilingual School (French-English), founded in 1993, today welcomes 630 students aged 3 to 18 years, representing 45 nationalities. The school is accredited by the Council of International Schools and offers the programs of the International Baccalaureate (MYP and DP). More than 100 multilingual academic staff are employed across its two campuses in St-Légier (VD).
For more information about Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, please visit: www.haut-lac.ch/