Curro Profit Surges 59% as More South African Schools Planned

  • Company plans to build nine campuses in financial year
  • Private-school operator raised 1.07 billion rand in May

Curro Holdings Ltd. said it’s on track to almost double the schools it runs to 200 by 2020 as South Africa’s largest private-school operator reported a 59 percent surge in first-half profit and plans to build nine campuses this year.

The company will spend about 950 million rand ($72 million) building the schools, Cape Town-based Curro said in a statement on Tuesday. It is investing a further 500 million rand in expanding existing campuses across the country. The operator raised 1.07 billion rand by offering stock to existing shareholders in May.

More parents are seeking alternatives to government schools for their children in South Africa, with the quality of education ranked 120th out of 140 countries in a survey by the World Economic Forum last year. Half of all pupils who start school drop out before completing the 12-year curriculum, state data shows. The national pass rate at state facilities fell to 70.7 percent in 2015, a second year of declines.

Poor school results have constrained growth in the continent’s largest economy, with companies battling to hire skilled workers in a country where more than one in four job seekers is unemployed.

Profit climbed to 81 million rand in the six months ended June 30 from 51 million rand a year earlier, Curro said. Revenue increased 24 percent to 705 million rand, while earnings per share rose 51 percent to 0.22 rand.

The stock rose 1.4 percent to 42.69 rand Monday, paring the decline this year to 25 percent.

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