GEMS Education secures $1.25 b loan

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Dubai: GEMS Education, an international private education provider based in Dubai, has secured a $1.25 billion (Dh4.59 billion) loan to refinance existing borrowings and to support future growth, it said on Monday.

The company, which is supported by Dubai-based Fajr Capital, Bahraini state investment fund Mumtalakat and private equity giant Blackstone, said in a statement it had drawn $900 million from the seven-year loan.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Emirates NBD Capital, HSBC Bank Middle East, MashreqBank and Noor Bank were underwriters of the loan, which was backed by a larger group of regional and international investors, the firm said without giving details.

The new loan includes a $250 million five-year revolving credit facility, GEMS said.

Sources said in October GEMS planned to raise the loan to streamline its corporate structure before making an initial public offering (IPO) of shares in London.

The company said on Monday its shareholders were “exploring the possibility of an offering of securities in the company” but that no decision to proceed with a transaction had been taken.

GEMS had net debt of $742 million at the end of August, before the $1.25 billion loan was raised.

In the 12-month period ending August 31, the company posted $926.2 million in revenues, about 17 per cent more than the same period a year earlier, driven by enrolment growth and tuition fee increases, it said.

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