The private company attacking South Africa’s biggest universities


Stadio, the JSE-listed investment holding company with investments in three private higher education institutions, aims to create an alternative to the University of South Africa, the country’s largest university system, with more than 400,000 students.

Large universities, such as Stellenbosch University, UCT, Wits and North West University, have between 30,000 and 70,000 students.

Stadio started as a subsidiary of Curro Holdings, but was unbundled in 2017 and listed separately on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

In 2013 Curro acquired Embury, a registered private higher education institution, which offers accredited qualifications for teacher education. This was Curro’s first acquisition in post-school education.

It has since acquired other prestigious higher education institutions, namely AFDA, Milpark Education, LISOF, Prestige Academy and Southern Business School, as well as the CA Connect business. AFDA and Milpark Education operate independently, and the other institutions have been combined with Stadio to form a single Stadio higher education institution.

In a Wednesday, June 22 note, Stadio chief executive Chris Vorster said the group was poised to enter a phase of growth with expanding access to a quality education. It currently has 9 schools, over 50 accredited programs, and on- and off-campus options.

Stadio, with its three current investments in Stadio Higher Education, Milpark Education and AFDA, has from 2016 to 2020 focused on establishing and positioning the business.

Vorster said that in 2022, the group is still focused on the consolidation phase of the business and is positioning itself to implement its growth strategy, aiming for sustainable profit growth of more than 20% in the long term, with minimum capital requirements, while exploring the possibility of new markets and further refining its systems and processes to enable continued innovation and efficiency.

Addressing shareholders at a virtual annual general meeting, Vorster, said the foundations for this phase of growth have been laid and are visible in the first half of the year with an 11% increase in student numbers for 38,414 at the end of May 2022 compared to June 30, 2021, with distance learning enrollment up 15%.

These figures exclude students enrolled in short learning programs, Stadio said.

“It is particularly significant that new students increased by 16% compared to June 2021, with contact learning students increasing by 2% to 2,355 and distance learning by 19% to 11,137 students.

“It’s a good illustration of our growth strategy, taking new programs to new sites. In general, the growth of new students provides Stadio with a good pool of renewal students for the next few years,” Vorster said.

Stadio is on track to reach its goal of 56,000 students by 2026, with an annual growth rate of 8% needed to achieve this. “The ultimate goal is to provide top-notch education to over 100,000 students over time with a minimum of 80% distance learning students and a maximum of 20% contact learning students,” said said Vorster.

“Stadio is well positioned to achieve these goals with its overarching strategy further underpinned by its goal of expanding access to education, taking into account the world of work and caring for students,” he said. he declares.

The group’s latest campus at Centurion opened its first phase in 2022 at a construction cost of R200 million.

Fees vary widely depending on the course, type of learning, location, advancement, and year of study.

Read: The private university group STADIO distributes a first dividend

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