Chris van der Merwe, CEO of Curro Holdings.
Chris van der Merwe, CEO of Curro Holdings.

Stadio sets sights on 100 000 students

By Sandile Mchunu Time of article published Mar 6, 2020

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DURBAN - Stadio Holdings has set its sights on growing its student numbers to 100000 in the future, banking on a huge demand for tertiary education in the country.

The group's outgoing chief executive, Dr Chris van der Merwe, said yesterday that the country was in dire need of these campuses.

“With more than 400000 Grade 12 learners qualifying year-on-year from schools, our public universities can only accommodate 192000 of these learners. By scaling the Stadio concept, we can truly supplement the state’s offerings to students in many ways,” Van der Merwe said.

The investment holding company, which was unbundled from Curro Holdings in 2017 and listed separately on JSE, saw its learner numbers increasing by 7percent to 31869 for the year to end December.

Van der Merwe said the group’s next aim was to reach 40000 students and that the market was big enough for Stadio to be of service to 100000 students.

In the results, the increase in student numbers boosted the group’s turnover by 29percent to R815million while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation surged by 40percent to R180m.

Its core headline earnings increased by 26percent to R88m, while core headline earnings per share also increased by 26percent to 10.8cents a share and headline earnings per share increased by 9percent to 8.5c.

Van der Merwe said this was accomplished in the midst of a tight economy and the country facing a recession. “We are truly thankful for the progress we made and, indeed, according to our business plan's targets and assumptions. Furthermore, we are creating opportunities for qualifying and passionate students, who in many cases do not get the opportunity of admission to our public universities,” Van der Merwe said.

Stadio said it was currently offering 93 accredited qualifications, which ranged from NQF5 to NQF10 level at its various educational brands, with 45 more programmes in the pipeline of development and accreditation.The brands operating under the Stadio Holdings banner are Stadio (formerly called Embury), Lisof, SBS, Afda and Milpark.

The group was also planning to open two multi-faculty campuses, which were both currently under construction. Stadio Centurion would open in January 2021, while Stadio Durbanville was anticipated to be opened in 2022.

Chris Vorster, founder and chief executive of the SBS brand, succeeds Van der Merwe as Stadio’s next chief executive at the beginning of April.

Nolwandle Mthombeni, an investment analyst at Mergence Investment Managers, said Stadio’s 9percent headline growth was rather disappointing.

Stadio shares closed 4.24percent lower at R1.58 on the JSE yesterday.

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