Dubai's GEMS to meet banks for $1.65bln refinancing: LPC news service

GEMS owns and operates 49 schools in the UAE and Qatar

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. Secondary students gather on stage ahead of their weekly assembly meeting on the last week of the school term in Wellington International School in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Secondary students gather on stage ahead of their weekly assembly meeting on the last week of the school term in Wellington International School in Dubai.

REUTERS/Jumana El Heloueh

DUBAI: Dubai-based GEMS Education is meeting banks in London and New York this week to discuss refinancing worth $1.65 billion, according to LPC, a fixed income news service that is part of Refinitiv.

GEMS, which owns and operates 49 schools in the UAE and Qatar, said last week that a consortium led by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has agreed to acquire a 30% stake in the company from existing shareholders.

The company also said it had launched a refinancing plan which includes loans and bonds, without giving further details.

According to LPC, GEMS' refinancing includes a $850 million loan, $500 million in secured bonds and euro-denominated bonds worth $300 million.

Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse are global coordinators for the financing, while Citi and HSBC are bookrunners, LPC reported, without giving a source.

GEMS declined to comment when contacted by Reuters on Sunday.

With the CVC Consortium deal, it will take on a further 14 private schools in Europe through the acquisition of Britain's Bellevue Education, GEMS said last week.

CVC's purchase will allow the exit of a consortium led by Fajr Capital Ltd, which includes Tactical Opportunities funds managed by Blackstone Group and Bahrain's Mumtalakat Holding Co.

Malaysian sovereign fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad will retain a 3% stake, and the Varkey family will remain the largest shareholder in GEMS once the deal is completed.

GEMS recently invested in a portfolio of 14 schools in Saudi Arabia and four schools in Egypt through joint ventures.

(Reporting by Davide Barbuscia and Stanley Carvalho Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Davide.Barbuscia@thomsonreuters.com; +971522604297; Reuters Messaging: davide.barbuscia.reuters.com@reuters.net))


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