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CASEIF II Invests in Costa Rica-based Grupo Universal de Idiomas

12 May 2010

(CASEIF) May 12, 2010 – CASEIF II committed a total investment of US$500,000 in Grupo Universal de Idiomas. In line with today’s global market and the boom in international outsourcing of services, Costa Rica is repositioning as an internationally competitive outsourcing services provider. By backing a solid and proven player in the language training and education, this investment represents an important developmental impact for the country’s workforce requiring better and more diversified language skills. It also is an attractive business opportunity within the regional educational sector in Central America.

Grupo Universal is poised to capitalize on these opportunities leveraging its experience and positioning as well as for the appealing diversity and quality of its service. It operates through two language centers: Instituto Universal de Idiomas JS, S.A. and ILISA. Instituto Universal de Idiomas JS S.A. is focused at the Costa Rican market, primarily among the low-middle income socioeconomic sectors, within the age range of 15 to 45 years old. On the other hand, ILISA is focused on attending the needs of foreign students outside Costa Rica looking for a full immersion, highly personal and comfortable Spanish language training.

The courses at ILISA are certified by the ACTFL (American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages), which is an international entity that certifies the quality of the courses for the learning of Spanish.

Instituto Universal de Idiomas JS S.A. has two strategic locations and present a low cost/high value service. When serving its clients it targets two segments: a) customers in high school age range, whose bases for learning a second language are weak; and b) young professionals in the range of 25-35 years, who are interested in learning of a second or third language to improve their professional horizons or work opportunities whether in the companies that they are currently working at, or at any of the more than 200 multinational companies that are operating in the country, which are constantly hiring new personnel due to their rapid growth.

Grupo Universal de Idiomas is lead by Mr. Julio Salas Castro and his wife Hellen Rojas, who together with CASEIF II are keenly looking forward to achieving the new and exciting goals in the expansion and consolidation of this fast growing business both within and outside of Costa Rica.


CASEIF II is a venture capital fund of US$35 million directed at small and medium enterprises in the Central American region. CASEIF II has been constituted with the commitment of institutional and private investors from Europe and America. The investors who have trusted their funds to CASEIF II are: The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), one of the most important divisions of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Norwegian Investment Fund for Development (NORFUND), the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO) acting through the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM), the Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (FINNFUND), the Belgian Investment Society for developing countries (BIO) and Latin American Financial Services (LAFISE). All investors share the same mission of promoting the growth of the region and decreasing poverty through the investment in private and profitable companies. Additionally, CASEIF II provides technical assistance funds that are non-refundable. These funds have been provided by NORFUND, BIO, and SECO. The technical assistance fund is for US$ 500,000 and can be used by the companies of the portfolio for the certification of processes, improvement of the accounting and information system, marketing studies, external consulting, training of personnel, etc.

The management company of CASEIF II is Lafise Investment Management (LIM), which is part of LAFISE group. LAFISE is a regional financial group that offers to its customers a diversified portfolio of financial services in Central America, the Dominican Republic, Panama, Mexico and Venezuela.

CASEIF II makes investments in Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic. Seventy percent of the funds are to be invested in companies with less than 100 employees and annual sales or total assets less than five million dollar. The remaining thirty percent is to be invested in bigger companies with no less than 100 and no more than 300 employees and sales or total assets no more than ten million dollar. The fund invests in stocks, cuasi-equity and stays in those companies as a shareholder for a period between 4 and 7 years.