Listed private education group Curro has boosted profits by a massive 83% in its past financial year, as its number of registered learners approaches 50,000 and it adds 26 more schools to its roster.
The company has posted its full year results for the financial year ending 31 December 2016, reporting a 69% increase in headline earnings to R169 million, up from R100 million recorded in 2015.
Revenue was up 27% to R1.76 billion (from R1.3 billion in 2015), while ebitda increased 33% to R387 million. Profit for the year was up 83% to R162 million (from R92 million previously).
Notably, Curro saw a significant leap in the number of learners attending its schools, adding over 7,200 learners during the course of 2016, and adding 4,400 more in the 2017 school year, taking it to a total of 47,589 learners by January 2017.
To date, the group has also added a further 26 schools and 5 more campuses, taking the totals to 127 schools as 34 campuses on the group’s portfolio.
The group aims to have 80 campuses and 200 schools by 2020.
The teacher to student ratio at Curro schools has increased marginally, with there now being one teacher for every 17 students, but this is still significantly lower than the ratio at public schools, which is around 30 learners per teacher.
The company spent around R1.7 billion on development in 2016, the bulk of which went to constructing new schools and expanding existing campuses. Curro said it would invest around R1.8 billion in 2017.
In 2016, Curro commenced with the expansion of its tertiary-education business, Embury.
At the end of 2017, the Embury operations will move to a new facility in Durban that can accommodate 2,600 students. The original campus could host 1,000 students.
Embury is adding two new campuses to their offering, being Waterfall in Midrand and Montana in Pretoria, which will be ready for full intake in 2018.
Embury is also in the process of concluding a transaction with Ba-Isago University in Botswana as announced on 21 November 2016.
An institution in the Western Cape for over 3,000 students will open in the next 2-3 years, Curro previously reported.
“Curro is busy designing courses and degrees and getting them accredited, a process that will take two years,” it said.
“We believe that the tertiary-education component can reach more than 100,000 students over the long term,” the group said.
The group is keeping its school and tertiary education businesses separate, and plans to unbundle its tertiary offering and list it separately “during the course of the year”, it said.
“More details will follow on SENS in due course.”