Dubai's GEMS raises $544m in banking deal

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Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of GEMS Education.

Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of GEMS Education.

GEMS Education has successfully raised AED2bn ($544m) bank finance as part of its continuing investment in the education sector, it was announced on Sunday.

The facility has a tenor of six years and has Islamic and conventional tranches. The facility raised will be used to refinance its investment in schools made over the last three years and to provide additional funds for the investment in new schools in the UAE and wider MENA region.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Mashreq Bank, Dubai Islamic Bank, and Noor Islamic Bank are the joint mandated lead arrangers and book runners for the financing.

United Arab Bank is a participating bank in the facility. Deloitte Corporate Finance Limited acted as financial advisor to GEMS Education. Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells acted as legal advisors for the Company and bank group respectively. 

Sunny Varkey, founder and chairman of GEMS Education, said: “I would like to thank the local banks for their continued support in our quest to meet the vision of the UAE Government in creating a world class education sector and a knowledge based economy.  Their support is a strong endorsement of the strength and resilience of the education sector and the economy more broadly.”

Dino Varkey, chief operating officer added: “Recently we announced our intention to build ten new schools in the UAE over the next two years to meet growing demand and the quality targets set by the local authorities. This new bank facility supports this expansion plan and GEMS Education commitment to meet the needs of the sector.

"The new schools will be state of the art education facilities and will incorporate 21st century design and sustainability features that can be adapted as education delivery changes in the future. 

The schools will have British, Indian, International Baccalaureate, American and dual curriculums and will include a range of different fee levels. The company will also establish a Leadership Academy and Teacher Training Centre in Dubai.”

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