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Dubai school operator GEMS raises extra debt to bolster its cash

Dubai school operator GEMS raises extra debt to bolster its cash

The “incremental” funding will be used to support working capital needs

GEMS-school 2

GEMS Education raised $150m in debt funding as the Middle East private-schools operator seeks to bolster its cash levels during the coronavirus pandemic.

The financing is being provided by an existing investor that Dubai-based GEMS didn’t identify in a term sheet sent to investors on Monday. The “incremental” funding will be used to support working capital needs, the company said.

A representative for GEMS confirmed the amount of capital being raised and its purposes in the note that was seen by Bloomberg.

GEMS, which operates 65 schools across the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and the UK, has provided discounts to parents struggling to pay fees amid the coronavirus pandemic. While revenue has been little changed as result, the firm has collected 98 per cent of school fees for the fiscal year through August, and expects to collect “most of the balance,” according to a presentation last month.

GEMS, backed by CVC Capital Partners, plans to draw the funds from newly issued senior-secured bonds due in July 2026 during the course of this month, the term sheet showed. The securities will pay a coupon of three-month Libor plus 700 basis points, GEMS said.

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