By Dasha Afanasieva
LONDON (Reuters) - GEMS Education's owners have chosen JP Morgan, Credit Suisse, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley <MS.N> to lead the private schools group's planned flotation, sources familiar with the matter said.
GEMS, which operates more than 250 schools across 14 countries, could have a market capitalisation of around $4.5-$5 billion (£3.3-£3.7 billion), the sources said, in a London initial public offering (IPO) which is expected to take place in 2018.
Backed by Dubai-based Fajr Capital, Bahraini state investment fund Mumtalakat and investment firm Blackstone, GEMs said on Monday it had secured a $1.25 billion loan to refinance existing borrowings and support growth.
In the year ending Aug. 31, adjusted consolidated earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were $261.6 million, up from $212.8 million in 2016, an auditors' report for GEMS MENASA in the Cayman Islands showed. Revenue rose to $926.2 million from $789.7 million in 2016.
Credit Suisse did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while the other banks chosen as joint global coordinators and GEMS declined to comment.
Separately on Monday, GEMS said it had invested more than $1 billion in its school network since the 2014 financial year.
(Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; Additional reporting by Stanley Carvalho in Abu Dhabi; editing by Alexander Smith)