File picture: Supplied
Cape Town – ADvTECH said on Wednesday it had continued to build profits steadily in the year to the end of December while maintaining a high matric pass rate and expanding its footprint outside of South Africa.

“The directors are pleased to announce excellent results for 2016, continuing the trend of strong performance from the business as it pursues its growth strategy,” the private schools company said in a statement.

Profit for the year was up by 67 percent, from R226.1 million to R377.9 million, on revenue that had improved by 24 percent to R3.4 billion. The company added, however, that excluding the benefit of the settlement of a longstanding litigation matter, with the Welihockyj's, profit had increased by 55 percent to R350.4 million.

The schools group said highlights of the year included a number of strategic acquisitions, increasing the schools presence in the Western Cape, introducing blended learning models and growing its position in the distance education sector.

ADvTECH added an investment from the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group, had been an important milestone during the year under review.

Read also: ADvTECH expands in Western Cape

The investment “supports our growth strategy with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa”, it said.

In the schools division, the company said, Independent Examination Board students achieved a 100 percent matric pass rate.

ADvTECH's NSC matric pass rate of 99 percent compares to the national pass rate of 73 percent.

Combined, 98 percent of ADvTECH's school students qualified for entrance into higher education institutions.

Highlights from the tertiary division included the 51 percent acquisition of the Oxbridge group in 2016, which added 21 000 registered distance learning students to the division.

Additionally the acquisition of the University of Africa in Zambia, effective in 2017, signified the group’s move further into the continental distance education sector.

“We aim to make quality tertiary education available to the broader public, not only in South Africa, but in the greater part of Africa as well,” ADvTECHsaid in a statement.

Another noteworthy acquisition, of Capsicum Culinary Studio, spearheaded its“development of the hotel, hospitality and tourism education offering”, it added. The resourcing division had a “challenging year with the tough economic conditions compounded by a number of external shocks”, the statement added, but a positive trend in the second half of 2016 had continued into the first quarter of 2017.

Headline earnings per share for the group were 39 percent improved at 71.1 cents and a final dividend of 19 cents was declared, up from 17 cents in 2015. This brings the full year dividend to 32.5 cents, up from 29.5 cents the year before.