Marc Hasenfuss Investors Monthly editor, writer & columnist

It’s still not easy to look past the more than 100 times earnings multiple that gets tagged to the share price of fast-growing private education venture Curro Holdings. But the report card for Curro’s year to end-December results makes for encouraging reading for those prepared to buy the share on a five-year view.What is most encouraging is how Curro’s rapidly growing footprint of private schools is moving up the profit J-curve. An analysis of the older and newer schools makes for fascinating reading — especially the breakdown of the R243m generated in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda). Curro’s eight oldest schools — those set up before 2009 — increased Ebitda in 2016 by 20% to R44m and operated on a margin of 29%. The six schools opened in 2010 managed a 33% margin, and increased Ebitda by 29% to R31m. The 16 schools opened in 2011 increased Ebitda by 30% to R52m on a margin of 26%, while the six schools opened in 2012 managed a margin of 25% in...

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