Shares in private education conglomerate AdvTech have staged a mini-rally of late, though the price is still only half the price-to-earnings multiple of rival Curro. AdvTech’s underperformance in its schools division, hit by emigration and hard times, has detracted from a commendable performance in its tertiary education division.  In the short term, much depends on the school division tweaking its systems to improve efficiencies. But more important for longer-term growth prospects is the push into more affordable school offerings (outside the core brands Crawford College and Trinityhouse) and latching on to opportunities in the vibrant tertiary education space. AdvTech’s new annual report certainly betrays its determination to build sustainable growth platforms, with a pending rejigging of the dividend policy to put in place extra cash-preserving measures. Indeed, there has been a steady increase in dividend cover in recent times as AdvTech played catch-up with the more aggressive ...

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