Chennai: Everonn Education Ltd, whose co-founder and managing director P. Kishore is in jail on a bribery and tax evasion case, on Tuesday said it has sold a 12% stake to Dubai-based Varkey Group’s GEMS Education for Rs 138.23 crore. Its shares rose 5%.
Everonn will issue about 2.6 million preferential shares at Rs 528 each to the Varkey Group, the company said in a statement to the BSE.
The Varkey Group, which runs private schools in West Asia and other parts of the world, will offer to buy more shares from Everonn stakeholders as it has signed a memorandum of understanding with SKIL Infrastructure Ltd, a co-promoter of Everonn, for the stake sale, taking its joint holdings in the Chennai-based company beyond the trigger point stipulated under Indian law.
SKIL held a stake of about 20% in Everonn in June.
Everonn has an agreement with the National Skill Development Corporation, co-promoted by the government, to train 15 million people, a little over one-fourth of the entire programme so far.
Late last month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested its co-founder Kishore for allegedly bribing a tax officer to suppress Rs 60 crore of tax payable by Everonn. A few days later, Jamshed J. Irani quit as chairman. The board then appointed full-time director Susha John as Everonn’s chief executive to exercise powers delegated to the managing director.
“The strategic investors have shown great faith and confidence in the existing management,” John said in a statement announcing the deal.
Nikhil Gandhi, a co-founder of Everonn, said the stake sale to GEMS Education will help the company expand in the school (kindergarten to class 12, or K-12) segment.
“We don’t have the expertise of K-12 and GEMS Education will help in our expansion effort,” said Gandhi, who holds a 20.9% stake in Everonn and is a co-promoter in SKIL Infra as well. “They have nearly 10,000 staff in school business and have presence in some 140 countries.”
Everonn had in July 2010 announced its aim to set up 300 K-12 schools over five years.
The company’s board has approved an increase in the portfolio investment limit for non-resident Indians to 24% from 10%, the company said.
Everonn will hold an extraordinary general meeting on 19 October.
On Tuesday, the Madras high court adjourned hearing a bail appeal by Kishore by two weeks. Everonn shares rose by Rs 17.45 apiece to end trading at Rs 367.15 on the BSE on Tuesday, while the Sensex rose 2.1% to 17,099.28 points.
Sneha Shah in Mumbai and Prashant Nanda in New Delhi contributed to this story.