Curro Holdings the dominant force in private education

When it comes to education, many parents yearn to send their children to a private school. An education facility which will see their child reach his or her full potential.

It is a dream which is now fast becoming a reality. On February 5, Curro Holdings, the massive private education operator, said it is expecting its headline earnings per share (Heps) to reflect a double-digit growth this year.

This follows acquisitions and an increase in scholar numbers, which continues to boost Curro Holding’s bottom line.

The group claims its Heps will rise between 58.7cents and 61.2 cents a share. This shows an increase of 22 and 27 percent.

Claiming it has already benefited from acquisitions in the past few years, it seems the group is continuing to grow.

This follows the purchase of Creston College, which is an independent school based in KwaZulu-Natal. The school accommodates 471 pupils and provides education from pre-primary to Grade 12.

Curro says its earnings per share (Eps) will increase between 58.7 cents and 61.2 cents during the period. Which is up from 51 cents last year. 

In October 2017, Curro unbundled its subsidiary, Stadio Holdings, with approximately 13 000 students. In the upcoming Curro results, Stadio is apparently reported as a discontinued operation.  

According to the group, the company’s continued operations, being the Curro schools’ business, is expected to report Heps and Eps of between 58.7 cents and 61.2 cents a share. Which is compared to the 49 cents a share achieved for the prior corresponding period.

This being an increase of between 20 and 25 percent. But, alas, the group’s shares do not paint a positive picture, falling 7.47 percent on the JSE. 

With Curro Holding also entering Botswana to acquire Baobab School, a primary school with a 27-year history and 750 pupils in Gaborone, the group is setting itself a high target of owning 80 independent schools by 2020. Schools which will accommodate around 80 000 pupils.

But can this goal be achieved?

Curro Holdings is backed by a strong investor. The investor, the PSG Group, has also invested in other JSE-listed companies, such as Capitec Bank, Zeder Investments and PSG Konsult.  

During 2018, Curro invested more than R2.3 billion into upgrading existing campuses, which includes St Dominics Newcastle. It also made funds available for potential acquisitions.

In the six months to end June results, Curro Holdings claims its learner numbers increased by 10 percent. This sees the number of learners increasing from 45 890 to 50 691 students. Revenue increased by a staggering 18 percent, going from R1.05 billion to R1.24 billion.

With Curro Holdings preparing to release its results next week, it seems private education is set to become the way of the future. 

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