Listed private tertiary education provider, Stadio Holdings, says that the Covid-19 pandemic has created a shift in the perception and attractiveness of distance learning in South Africa, an avenue it will look to pursue further given the attractive price point.
In a trading update on Wednesday (26 August), the group pointed to a 21% increase in core headline earnings for the six months to June 2020, to 6.9 cents. This follows a rise of 22% in core headline earnings from R46.4 million to R56.8 million and a 15% increase in revenue from R408.9 million to R468.2 million.
Core headline earnings reflects headline earnings adjusted for certain items that may distort the financial results from year-to-year, giving shareholders a more consistent reflection of the underlying financial performance of the group.
Student numbers increased by 10% from 28,280 to 31,053 during the period under review with 33,586 students in total enrolled in August.
Students enrolled on distance learning programmes accounted for 80% of the student body and reflected year-on-year growth of 12% to 24,784 students. On-campus students grew by 3% year-on-year for a total of 6,269 students, the group said.
At the end of June 2020 Stadio said it offered 97 accredited qualifications with 37 programmes being in the development pipeline.
Stadio chief executive officer, Chris Vorster said that given the extreme operational and business conditions during the period under review, it was decided to delay the construction and opening of the new multi-faculty Stadio Centurion campus from 2021 to 2022.
At the end of June 2020, the group’s cash balance amounted to R123 million. “This provides the group with a solid platform to remain committed to its strategic objectives and seeking further growth opportunities,” it said.
The group said it has made substantial progress towards consolidating its programmes under a one Stadio brand. In May 2020, the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) approved the business transfer process, enabling the businesses of LISOF, Prestige Academy and Southern Business School to be transferred to Stadio (formerly Embury Institute for Higher Education) during 2020.
This excludes Milpark, while the transfer of SA School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance (AFDA) will be done over a period of two years.
“The commencement of the business transfer will allow Stadio to accommodate a wider variety of programmes at the group’s various registered sites of delivery and to actively deliver on the marketing, operational and regulatory efficiencies of operating under a single brand.”