Gems Education amends terms of Dh3 billion loan

Gems Education has amended the terms of a loan arranged in 2013 to help fund its expansion in the UAE and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.

The Dh3 billion seven-year loan, a mix of Islamic and conventional finance, includes Dh915 million in undrawn but committed funds, according to the private education provider.

The original loan taken out in March 2013 was for Dh2bn, but in July 2014 it was increased to Dh3bn. The amendment extends the maturity and repayment profile over a longer period of time to reflect market conditions. The loan has an undrawn element of Dh915 million.


“The economic and population growth in the region has continued and we see strong indicators for high continued year-on-year growth rates in the student population in the UAE and the wider region,” said Nick Guest, the company’s chief financial officer.

Gems Education issued a US$200m sukuk last year.

The company, which runs schools in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and around the world, generated revenue of US$674.8m in the 12 months ending in March, a year-on-year increase of 20.6 per cent. It attributed its financial growth to increases in enrolment, annual average revenue per pupil and other ­incomes. Total capacity across all its schools then was just under 109,000.

Fajr Capital, a private equity firm based in Dubai, along with the US investment firm Blackstone and Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat bought a minority stake in Gems last ­October.

dalsaadi@thenational.ae

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