• Loan to fund building of new schools in GCC, other countries
  • Three-year loan in dirhams and dollars provided by six banks

GEMS Education, one of the world’s biggest operators of private schools, raised a $250 million loan to build new schools in the Gulf Cooperation Council member states and other countries, according to two people with knowledge of the deal.

The Dubai-based company obtained the three-year loan in dollars and dirhams, more than 80 percent of which will be paid at maturity and the remainder over the loan’s life, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The loan is priced at 480 basis points, or 4.8 percentage points, over the benchmark rate, they said.

Emirates NBD PJSC, Dubai’s biggest bank, Commercial Bank International PSC, United Arab Bank PJSC and Barwa Bank QSC were among the six banks which provided the funds, according to the people. Nobody at GEMS Education was available to comment, while spokesmen for Emirates NBD and CBI declined to comment. United Arab Bank and Barwa Bank didn’t respond to calls for comment.

GEMS Education reported a 13 percent rise in revenue to $467 million in the fiscal half-year ended Feb. 28 as student enrollments climbed to 98,849, revenue per student increased and the number of schools rose. The company had net debt of $422 million.

A group of private equity investors including Blackstone Group LP, the world’s largest manager of alternative assets, Bahraini sovereign wealth fund Mumtalakat and Dubai-based Fajr Capital Ltd. bought a significant minority stake in GEMS Education’s emerging markets business in the Middle East, North Africa and East Asia, in 2014.

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