GEMS Education repays $200m sukuk issued in 2013

December 4, 2018
The Dubai-based company plans to delist the Islamic bond from two exchanges

GEMS Education said on Tuesday it re-payed a $200 million sukuk and plans to delist the Islamic bond from Nasdaq Dubai and the Irish Stock Exchange.

The sukuk, which was issued in 2013, was the first funding the company raised from international capital markets and helped finance its growth.

“When we raised the Sukuk in 2013, our business operated 37 schools educating 79,000 students. In the intervening five years we have grown significantly,” said Dino Varkey, CEO of GEMS Education. “GEMS Education now owns and operates 49 schools and educates over 124,000 students in the Mena region.”

Gems Education and Hassana Investment Company, the arm of Saudi Arabia’s General Organisation for Social Insurance, signed in October a partnership to invest up to $800 million over the next decade to acquire and develop schools in the kingdom.

The agreement will provide places for up to 130,000 students and create employment opportunities for 16,000 people, 40 per cent of which will be Saudi citizens.

The partnership, which includes the acquisition and upgrading of existing schools and construction of new facilities, was signed on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative summit that took place in Riyadh in October.

Blackstone, Dubai-based Fajr Capital, Mumtalakat and the Varkey Group, which is a majority owner in the education provider, are considering selling some or all of their stakes in GEMS in a deal that could value it at about $4 billion, Bloomberg reported in October. GEMS was slated to list in London but delayed its initial public offering according to media reports in June.