Private education group AdvTech says its performance in SA continues to be negatively affected by financial pressure on parents, as well as emigration. The education conglomerate is eyeing further expansion in faster-growing African economies to offset difficult conditions in SA. The group’s student base grew 11% in the year to end-December, but the company noted this was primarily due to its expansion strategy. Tough trading conditions had prompted a drop-off of upfront fee payments from parents, who were also increasingly delaying payments. The results were somewhat lacklustre, and enrolment growth had been subdued for both AdvTech and its rival Curro over the past 18 months, said Mergence Investment Managers equity analyst Nolwandle Mthombeni. “While management may cite investment and emigration as part of the reason the schools' division is underperforming, a turnaround is overdue as a lot of investment has been made to grow capacity, and returns need to start coming through,” s...

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