Stadio CEO Chris van der Merwe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Stadio CEO Chris van der Merwe. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Private education group Stadio says net profit jumped 47% to R52.2m in the six months to end-June partly thanks to the acquisition of another higher-education institution.

Stadio bought Prestige Academy, which has campuses in the Western Cape and Gauteng, in November 2018. That helped the group lift revenues 38% to R408.9m in the first half of 2019.

The better financial performance “is attributable to the organic growth of the underlying institutions, the inclusion of Prestige Academy’s results… as well as the better overall financial performance of Milpark”, Stadio said.

The company said it had “a strong cash position”, with a cash balance of R349m at the end of June. It would use some of that cash to fund new developments — including greenfield projects — and for potential acquisitions.

The group, led by CEO Chris van der Merwe, is eyeing new developments in the Western Cape, Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

Stadio said it is finalising the purchase of a site in Centurion and has entered into an agreement to acquire vacant land in Durbanville. “We expect the first large-scale campus to open in Centurion in 2021, with the Durbanville campus opening in 2022.”

Given the group’s expansion plan, it said it will not pay an interim dividend.

“The group continues on its journey to establish and migrate all brands to one Stadio Multiversity, which will reap efficiencies in the long term, but could result in additional costs in the short to medium term,” it said.

Despite the tough domestic economy, “the group is well positioned to deliver on its organic and acquisitive growth objectives for the 2019 financial year”.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za