Big boost for private school group in South Africa

 ·21 Aug 2023

Listed private school owner Curro reported strong growth in profit for the first half of 2023.

In its financial results for H1 2023, the group said that the number of students at its 78 campuses increased 3% from 70,724 to 72,385.

This contributed to a 16% revenue increase from R2.1 billion in H1 2022 to R2.4 million in H1 2023.

Headline earnings per share (HEPS) also increased by 26% from 27.5 cents in H1 2022 to 34.6 cents in H1 2023, whilst recurring headline earnings per share (RHEPS) increased 36% from 25.5 cents to 34.6 cents.

“Our rise in tuition fees by 14% was a result of growing learner numbers and our periodic fee increases. We are pleased with the 31% surge in our ancillary revenue to R223 million,” CEO Cobus Loubser said.

The group invested R312 million during the period, which included the acquisition of Courtney House International School.

The group expects to invest up to R800 million in capital projects over the full year.

Despite the strong increase in headline earnings per share, the group’s board decided not to declare a dividend for the period, with it instead opting to pay 20% of recurring headline earnings as an annual dividend.

FinancialsH1 2022Change H1 2023
HEPS27.5 cents26% 34.6 cents
RHEPS25.5 cents36%34.6 cents
Number of learners70,5193%70,519
Revenue R2 060m16%R2 389m

Tough times for private schools

Curro’s strong financial performance comes amidst a difficult period for private schools in South Africa.

According to the latest School Survey by TPN Credit Bureau, 40% of private schools had fewer learners this year compared to the prior year.

TPN Credit Bureau’s Waldo Marcus said that school fees are the main source of income for over 90% of private schools, but the current higher fees charged by them are simply unaffordable for many South Africans amidst the cost of living crisis.

The government school system is now also under strain, with the Department of Basic Education’s Simone Geyer saying that it has seen a dramatic increase in the number of applications for parents who can no longer afford to pay private school fees in 2023.

In addition, both government and private schools have been negatively affected by the number of school fee accounts in good standing steadily dropping, with the number of school fee accounts in good standing dropping from 63.75% in 2021 to 62.57% in 2022.

Read: These are the 8 top-ranked universities in South Africa

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter