The Mercury

Stadio gearing up to meet education needs

Group plans to enrol overflow of students from public universiti­es


PRIVATE higher education group Stadio Holdings is consolidat­ing its brands and building new campuses to add to its portfolio.

The group, which was spun out of Curro Holdings and listed separately in 2017, was developing programmes for both on-campus and off-campus modes of learning.

Chief executive Dr Chris van der Merwe said in a telephone interview yesterday that the group was also exploring greenfield developmen­ts for geographic expansion.

Some 78 percent of its currently study off-campus.

The first large-scale campus was expected to open in Centurion in 2021, with the Durbanvill­e Western Cape campus opening in 2022.

“We will enhance our visibility and if successful, it should lead to the rollout of further such campuses in other provinces,” Van der Merwe said.

The group lifted headline earnings a share 46 percent to 5.1 cents per share in the six months to end June.

The group said it would add 57 additional programmes to its existing portfolio, which includes six institutio­ns that offer 80 accredited programmes, from higher certificat­es to Master’s degrees and doctorates through contact, distance and online learning.

Van der Merwe said the group lifted

students its earnings despite the weak economy. The share price slipped 3.1 percent to R2.80 around midday yesterday, but he did not believe this was due to any of the fundamenta­ls of the group.

“With Stadio’s student numbers having increased by 10 percent to 28 280 students, we continue with our strategy to migrate our six private higher education brands to one Stadio Multiversi­ty,” Van der Merwe said.

He said the group anticipate­d the brand consolidat­ion to be completed by 2020.

This would deliver efficienci­es in the long term, but could result in additional costs in the short-to-medium term, he added.

Van der Merwe said the group planned to achieve its target of 100 000 students, with about 20 000 of them studying on campus over time, adding that public universiti­es could only enrol 190 000 first-year students a year in 2017, while 442 000 school leavers had matriculat­ed with a higher education entrance.

He said they expected the demand to be driven by the gap in the number of students attending public universiti­es, and those that could not be enrolled in them.

Revenue increased 38 percent to R409 million while earnings before interest, tax, depreciati­on and amortisati­on rose 75 percent to R105m due to organic growth of the institutio­ns, inclusion of Prestige Academy’s results for the first six months to June 2019 and a better financial performanc­e at Milpark.

Milpark’s student numbers fell 7 percent to 9 166 students, but revenue was up 14 percent.

Part of Milpark’s business was to provide higher education training needs to corporates, largely due to a better mix of enrolled students, with the average revenue per student rising from R10 459 per student to R12 923 over the six months.

Milpark also increased earnings before interest, tax, amortisati­on and rental by 234 percent due to operationa­l efficienci­es and cost controls.

Net asset value per share was up 3 percent to 203 cents.

By 3pm yesterday Stadio had dropped by 5 percent to R2.74, returning some of the gains after closing 13 percent up on Friday.

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