August 14, 2019 / 11:30 AM / 8 days ago

S.African education firm Curro to invest $14 mln in 4 new campuses

JOHANNESBURG, Aug 14 (Reuters) - South African private education firm Curro Holdings will invest 223 million rand ($14.66 million) in opening four new campuses, it said on Wednesday, after reporting a 44% rise in half-year headline earnings.

Founded in 1998, Curro, which runs schools and tertiary institutions in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, has been growing at a lightning rate as parents frustrated with under-resourced, over-crowded state-run schools splash out on private education.

For the six-months ended June 30, Curro’s pupil numbers increased by 13% to 57,173, increasing revenue by 19% to 1.48 billion rand.

Besides opening the new campuses, Curro also has major expansion and replacement projects underway, with an estimated investment of 1 billion rand in 2019, it added.

“The board believes Curro is positioned for growth and will focus on increasing utilisation of the existing school infrastructure capacity in the short to medium term,” it said.

“Curro will also reduce capital outlay on Greenfield schools over the medium term.”

Headline earnings, the main profit gauge used in South Africa that strips out some one-off items, increased by 44% to 50 cents from 34.8, whilst recurring HEPS rose by 7%.

Group earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and head office expenditure (EBITDA) rose by 21% to 415 million rand.

At 1125 GMT, shares in Curro were 7.98% firmer to 17.99 rand. ($1 = 15.2119 rand) (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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