DURBAN – Private education operator Curro Holdings said on Tuesday that it expected its headline earnings per share (Heps) to reflect a double-digit growth for the year to end December as acquisitions and increase in scholar numbers continue to boost its bottom line.
The group said its Heps would rise between 58.7 cents and 61.2c a share, representing an increase of between 22 and 27 percent compared to 48.1c reported at the end of December 2017.
The group said that it had already benefited from acquisitions in the last few years.
It said that it had bought Creston College, a KwaZulu-Natal-based independent school, for an undisclosed amount two weeks ago.
The school accommodates 471 pupils and provides education from pre-primary to Grade 12 and sports.
Curro said its earnings per share (Eps) would increase to be between 58.7c and 61.2c during the period, up from 51c last year.
Curro unbundled its subsidiary, Stadio Holdings, in October 2017, with approximately 13 000 students.
In the expected Curro results, Stadio is reported as a discontinued operation.
“The company's continued operations, being the Curro schools business, is expected to report Heps and Eps of between 58.7c and 61.2c a share compared to the 49c a share achieved for the prior corresponding period, being an increase of between 20 and 25 percent,” the group said.
However, the group’s shares failed to cheer positive update, falling 7.47 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R26.57. Last April, Curro acquired Cooper College and Magic Beings Pre-Primary School.
The group also entered Botswana to acquire Baobab School, a leading primary school with a 27-year history and 750 pupils in Gaborone.
The group has set itself a target of owning 80 independent schools by 2020 that will accommodate 80 000 pupils.
It is backed by a strong investor in the form of the PSG Group, which has also invested in other JSE-listed companies like Capitec Bank, Zeder Investments and PSG Konsult.
Curro invested more than R2.3 billion last year as it upgraded existing campuses and made funds available for potential acquisitions.
In the six months to end June results, the group reported that its learner numbers increased by 10 percent to 50 691 students, up from 45 890 compared while revenue increased by 18 percent to R1.24bn, up from R1.05bn.
Curro is expected to release its results next week.