South African private tertiary education provider Stadio reports 10% growth in student numbers

 ·15 Mar 2021

Private tertiary education provider, Stadio Higher Education, on Monday (15 March) reported a 10% jump in enrolments to 35,031 students for the period ended December 2020.

Over the same period, distance learning students grew by 12% to 28,664 students (2019: 25,672), and contact learning students grew by 3% to 6,367 students (2019: 6,197).

Stadio Holdings was spun out of Curro in 2017, and owns three higher education institutions, Stadio, Milpark and AFDA, offering a diverse range of programmes including undergraduate, and post-graduate programmes.

Core headline earnings increased by 33% from R88 million to R117 million with core headline earnings per share growing by 31% from 10.8 cents to 14.2 cents, it said. Revenue increased by 14% from R815 million to R933 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.

Earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) declined by 75% from R180 million to R46 million as a result of an accounting fair value loss adjustment relating to the acquisition of the CA Connect business, Stadio said.

The consideration payable for the CA Connect acquisition is subject to the growth in EBITDA of the CA Connect business over a three-year period.

Actual student enrolments for this business materially outperformed expected enrolments resulting in a higher-than-expected purchase consideration and thus a fair value adjustment to account for the increased purchase consideration due. Excluding the impact of the fair value adjustment, the adjusted EBITDA grew by 29% from R196 million to R253 million, Stadio said.

Stadio chief executive Chris Vorster said the growth in student numbers is particularly pleasing given the extreme Covid-19 conditions during the year. “We were able to successfully complete the 2020 academic year on time with drop-out figures of 2.5% for contact learning and 6.1% for distance learning, the lowest since we started with operations in 2017.

“Stadio is considered a leader in distance learning, which gained further traction during the year. Our focus this year will be to further develop infrastructure and systems for student support, particularly for distance learning.

“Also, of great importance will be the enhancement of the employability of students and employment desirability. Progress in this regard is already evident from recent research by the group.”

Vorster said that the group’s aim is firmly set on 56,000 students by 2026 and the blueprint for this is currently being developed.

Read: Stadio pools 4 brands into one new private ‘multi-university’

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