Gulf-based entrepreneur Sunny Varkey, who owns one of the world’s largest private school companies, is boarding Everonn Education Ltd as a co-promoter. Varkey Group Ltd, which owns GEMS Education, is acquiring nearly 12 per cent stake in Everonn in concert with SKIL Infrastructure Ltd for Rs 138 crore and is expected to make an open offer subsequently.

The development comes after Everonn’s co-founder and managing director P. Kishore was arrested by the CBI in an alleged bribery and tax evasion case. The news of the arrest, which came out last month, also led to the resignation of its chairman, Dr Jamshed J. Irani.

The investment by Varkey Group, which also holds interests in healthcare and construction besides education, will be done at a price of Rs 528 per share, 51 per cent premium over its closing price of Rs 349.7 on Monday. The share price of Everonn, which touched a low of Rs 227.8 after Kishore’s arrest, shot up 4.99 per cent to hit Rs 367.15 on Tuesday.

Last year, Nikhil Gandhi-led SKIL Infrastructure acquired 20.9 per cent stake in Chennai-based Everonn for Rs 208.4 crore to become a co-promoter. While P Kishore currently holds 8.52 per cent, another 12 per cent is held by other promoters.

Everonn has called for an EGM on October 19, 2011.

Varkey Group’s GEMS Education claims to be the largest private school operator in the world for K-12 students. There are over 100,000 students in GEMS Education schools hailing from well over 100 countries. GEMS employs approximately 9,000 people and the company runs schools in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, India, China and the UK.

For the first quarter of FY12, Everonn reported 50 per cent increase in total income to Rs 66.85 crore, with net profits increasing 52 per cent to Rs 11.03 crore.

The company had recently formed a joint venture with the Indian government’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC). The new JV is called Everonn Skill Development Ltd and it has plans to invest Rs 700 crore for setting skill development centres across the country.

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