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Simon’s weekly wrap: Education, hospitality and tech groups show their numbers

This week MoneywebNOW looked at how ADvTECH and City Lodge fared over lockdown, as well as Tencent’s results, and what container ship Ever Given’s Suez Canal blockage means for global trade, and more.
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Education is generally considered a household expense that people are happy to bear, if they can, as it offers real-world benefits to those being educated (usually children but also adults upskilling). ADvTECH’s* annual results clearly illustrate this: it saw enrolment and income growth during 2020. I spoke with ADvTECH CEO Roy Douglas about its schools business as well as its tertiary offering and the challenges of lockdown as it managed to not lose a single day of teaching.

City Lodge has had a very tough time during the pandemic and had to raise R1.2 billon last year to pay down its black economic empowerment debts. Its recent interim results show occupancies running at about half of what is required for it to be at breakeven, but the stock has been running. I spoke with Chantal Marx, head of research at FNB Wealth and Investments, asking if this offers an investment opportunity. She was cautious but did point out that the hotel group is trading at a price that is about 20% of the value of its many hotels.

Tencent is a giant in China and locally, with JSE-listed Naspers and Prosus having a significant stake in the company. Tencent’s results for the 2020 fourth quarter and its annual results came out on Wednesday and were excellent. I spoke with Mike Gresty from Anchor Capital about the details of this massive tech conglomerate. He also touched on increasing regulatory risk as the Chinese government cracks down on its large tech companies, but overall Tencent remains a top tech stock.

On Wednesday the world woke up to the news that Ever Given, a 400-metre container ship, had run aground in the Suez Canal, one of the world’s most important transit corridors. Peter Hand of Bimco is a shipping expert and I spoke to him about the potential impact on global trade, as some 10 million metric tons of cargo pass through the canal every day. The issue, as he points out, is that we have no idea how long it will take to free the stuck container ship. If it happens in the next few days, the impact will be small. But if it takes much longer, then ships will have to transverse around the Cape – adding both time and cost to the global logistics industry.

The writer holds shares in ADvTECH

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