Marks may improve — in time
Economy’s woes could hurt AdvTech, Curro
Though there is vibrancy in the schools sector, prolonged economic difficulties in SA may put a brake on growth
One needs to read the report cards for private education specialists AdvTech and Curro very carefully before deciding which business will come out tops over the longer learning curve. A cursory scan of the latest interim performances might show Curro getting a B for improving the fortunes of its core schools business, while AdvTech might be accorded a C-minus and a "must try harder" scolding. The report card will show that Curro, which recently unbundled its tertiary interests in Stadio, managed a commendable operating margin of almost 27%. But the margin in AdvTech’s schools division was squeezed to just 16%. AdvTech’s schools division and Curro both grew 18% in the top line, which attests to a certain vibrancy in the still expanding sector — in spite of a woeful economic climate. Curro’s profit revived following a fairly mediocre 2017 financial year, with headline earnings up 25% to R139m for the six months to end-June. Certainly, 2017’s profit numbers did not justify the heady ea...