JOHANNESBURG, Oct 12 (Reuters) - South African investment holding company PSG Group wants to invest some of its 1.7 billion rand ($123 million) cash in private universities in the country, the company's chief executive said on Wednesday.
PSG's existing investments include a 58 percent stake in Curro Holdings, South Africa's largest private education group with primary and high school facilities on 47 campuses.
"We currently have 1.7 billion-rand cash available for further investments in our existing portfolio and one or two smaller green field businesses," Mouton told Reuters after the company reported half-year results.
Some of the cash could be deployed through Curro, which will increase its teachers' colleges to three from one, while PSG's private equity arm would handle its other investments in the education sector, Mouton said without elaborating.
Students have been protesting in South Africa over the cost of university education, which is prohibitive for many black students. Some students are demanding all universities be shut down until the government provides free education.
President Jacob Zuma has appointed a special team to help to end weeks of student protests.
Curro, with the backing of PSG, last year showed interest in acquiring rival Advtech, which has a tertiary education unit, but walked away.
PSG on Wednesday reported an 11 percent rise in headline earnings per share to 470.5 cents for the six months to end-August, largely due to higher profits from Capitec Bank and Curro.
$1 = 13.8542 rand Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by James Macharia and Jane Merriman