A Curro campus. File picture: Independent Media
A Curro campus. File picture: Independent Media
DURBAN - Listed independent schools group Curro Holdings announced yesterday that it had acquired Cooper College and Magic Beings Pre-Primary School for an undisclosed amount.

Curro chief executive Andries Greyling said the acquisition was part of the group's strategy to broaden its footprint in Southern Africa.

Greyling said Cooper College, which is located in Randburg in Gauteng, would flourish on the excellent foundation that Curro had laid.

“With the planned addition of the high school in the near future, Cooper College will be able to make a significant contribution to the academic tradition of the area as a whole,” Greyling said.

Cooper College was established in 2010 and accommodates just more than 1000 learners up to Grade 8.

Greyling said Curro was planning to add more campuses in lower-fee markets in 2019, as well as acquire established schools.

He said Curro had its sights fixed on ensuring that a growing pool of learners throughout southern African had access to education. “This acquisition comes alongside Curro Holdings celebrating 20 years of providing quality, independent education,” he said.

Curro listed on the JSE in 2011 and has developed an appetite for acquisitions. Last year, the group said it was eyeing potential acquisitions and deals that could add meaningfully to pupil numbers.

The group acquired Baobab School, a leading primary school with a 27-year history and 750 learners in Gaborone, Botswana, conditionally, and another independent school group with more than 2000 learners in South Africa.

The group said it planned to invest R2.3billion this year, with new schools set to be ready for the 2019 academic year.

In 2017, the group invested R1.14bn in the schools business, with R324million to construct five new campuses, R652m to expand existing campuses and R148m invested in land banking.

Curro Holdings aims to have 80 independent schools by 2020 that will accommodate 80000 learners by 2021.

In the six months to the end of December, Curro reported a 24percent increase in headline earnings to R201m.

Curro shares rose 3.25percent on the JSE to close at R31.77 yesterday.