AdvTech considers expanding its reach as tertiary unit rallies

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BR Advtech 7506 Independent Newspapers AdvTech, a diversified education, training and placement group that owns brands such as Abbots College, increased its revenue for the six months to June by 9 percent. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Nompumelelo Magwaza

ADVTECH expected its future growth not only to come from the local market, but also from countries elsewhere in Africa through the use of partnerships and online technology, the education and recruitment group said yesterday.

The group’s outgoing chief executive, Frank Thompson, said the African growth strategy would be led by the newly appointed chief executive Leslie Maasdorp, who would assume office in October.

Thompson said part of the strategy was to expand in neighbouring countries and to increase the number of students from those countries in the existing local campuses.

AdvTech’s schools unit houses brands such as Crawford Schools, Abbot College and Trinity House, while its tertiary education unit owns Varsity College and Rosebank College among others. AdvTech’s strategy includes forming partnerships in English-speaking African countries.

“We will not be necessarily doing it all on our own; it would be a useful approach to look for people on the ground in those territories with expertise, experience and existing investments that we can work with,” Thompson said.

He added that the group would not be necessarily setting up physical schools, but would make use of its advanced technology systems to reach those students.

Without mentioning names, Thompson said AdvTech was looking into close neighbouring countries where the group could extend its management capacity without having to create new infrastructure.

For the six months to June, AdvTech managed to increase revenue by 9 percent to R959.2 million with operating profit up 17 percent to R117.4m.

The group’s headline earnings a share were up 14 percent to 20.1c.

Thompson said results were driven by all three divisions, which include schools, tertiary and resourcing.

Revenue in the schools division grew 11 percent to R452m, while profits, which grew only 1 percent, were affected by the opening of new sites and anticipated losses incurred in the early years of operations.

Its resourcing division continued to be affected by tough trading conditions with small improvement noted towards the end of period. Revenue declined by 6 percent.

AdvTech opened about six schools in the first six months; four campuses were built from scratch, while two campuses were acquired.

The group’s tertiary unit grew operating profit 97 percent to R42m with the revenue increasing by 10 percent.

Thompson said the tertiary division was showing signs of recovery.

“We are simply reaping benefits in terms of improved operational performances on our campuses and improved enrollment numbers, excellent student results, as well as much lower drop-out rates.”

AdvTech shares fell 3.45 percent to R8.11 yesterday.


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