Budget private school group Curro now has more than 50,000 pupils in 57 schools – and it’s making a killing
- At the end of June it had 50,691 pupils enrolled at its schools, private education group Curro reported on Tuesday. That's up 10% from a year ago.
- But Curro's after-tax profits grew much faster than that; up 24% even after a big jump in finance costs due to rapid expansion.
- Curro is spending R400 million on six new schools, including one due to open in Soweto.
At the end of June it had 50,691 pupils enrolled in its 57 schools around the country, budget private school group Curro said in interim results on Tuesday morning.
Earlier this year competing (and troubled) private school group Pembury warned of waning enthusiasm for private education in South Africa – but Curro said its learner numbers had grown 10% in a year, and its expansion plans are well on track.
It is spending R400 million on six new schools, including one in Protea Glen in Soweto due to open in 2018, as well as campuses in Vanderbijlpark, Edenvale, Boksburg, Savanna City in Johannesburg, and Burgundy Estate in Cape Town.
The expansion is costly; Curro's finance costs have increased by 51% since this time last year and amounted to R104 million in the first six months of this year.
But that did not prevent it from making an after-tax profit of more than R22 million per month over its interim period, a 24% increase since the middle of 2017.
Curro's strategy is to keep classes at fewer than 25 children each (it is currently averaging 17 pupils per employed teacher) but at more affordable fees than high-end private schools. In 2017 its average cost per pupil was R41,600.
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