The EC group has acquired a language school in San Diego, its second in the United States, adding it to an already impressive portfolio which includes schools in Boston, London, Brighton, Cambridge and Cape Town in South Africa.

Andrew Mangion, chief executive of the Malta-based group (picture), told a press conference that the San Diego school was established in 1994 in a suburb popular with Europeans, and was acquired in a multi-million dollar deal. EC will be refurbishing and upgrading the 20 lecture rooms and related facilities.

He said EC plans to have five to seven schools in the United States by 2010, the process being helped by the weak dollar and the prospect of a double taxation avoidance agreement between Malta and the United States.

US Ambassador Molly Bordonaro, who was present for the press conference, said the double taxation agreement, initialled last week, is expected to be signed in the coming weeks.

Mr Mangion said that thanks to the agreement, repatriated profits would be taxed at around 40 percent instead of 60 percent.

The EC group was set up in Malta in 1991.

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