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Growth in student numbers bolsters Stadio’s FY results

Declares maiden post-listing dividend of 4.7 cents per share.
Stadio’s portfolio includes AFDA, the School for the Creative Economy. Image supplied

Private higher education group Stadio Holdings posted strong results for the year to end-December 2021 on Monday, declaring its first dividend of 4.7 cents per share (cps) since listing on the JSE in 2017.

The group’s performance was supported by an overall increase in student enrolments as it recorded an 11% growth to 34 494 in the first semester and a 9% hike to 38 262 in the second semester of 2021.

Distance-learning student numbers rose 15% in semester one and 13% in semester two as Covid-19 restrictions saw many contact meetings move online.

This was accompanied by a contraction in enrolments for contact learning, with a 6% decline in semester one and a 7% decrease in semester two, which the group says was the result of students delaying or deferring studies given the uncertainties of the pandemic.

Read: Planning for unexpected education costs in 2022

By the end of the second semester distance learning enrolments accounted for 84% of students and contact learning the remaining 16%.

Online professional qualifications thus contributed the most growth for the group.

Stadio said in a statement it believes contact learning student numbers will recover once normality and stability return to campuses.

“Regulatory delays in accrediting programmes and site extensions impacted the group’s growth plans for many of its contact learning sites,” it noted.

The group’s revenue grew 18% to R1 billion (2020: R933 million), with core headline earnings going up 27% to R149 million (2020: R117 million). Core headline earnings per share (Heps) rose 24% to 17.6 cps, up from 14.2 cps in the previous period.

The group said growth in core Heps was due to “realising certain cost savings from altering teaching and learning practices to service students within the constraints of Covid-19 imposed restrictions”.

Stadio share price

Stadio’s portfolio includes:

  • Stadio Higher Education;
  • AFDA (from ‘Africa Film Drama Art’), the School for the Creative Economy (registered as The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance); and
  • Milpark Education

Together these institutions offer both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes via contact, distant and hybrid modes of learning.

The group has 86 accredited programmes and an additional 34 currently in the process of development and/or accreditation (including programmes in law, engineering and information technology).

“The group has come a long way since its listing in 2017. We continue to refine our strategy, consolidate our offerings, optimise processes, implement systems and pursue numerous growth opportunities all driven by our purpose to widen access to higher education,” the group said.

Read: The great educational hope crusher

“Having considered the challenging economic prospects for the country, the board is of the belief that higher education is a fundamental pillar of social and economic empowerment that will promote economic growth in the country.”

Capex

Stadio invested R52 million in the completion of Phase 1 of the Stadio Centurion campus, which officially opened its doors in January. A further R22 million has been invested to complete Phase 2 of the same campus, due for completion later this year.

“The group through its many offerings, caters to both contact learning and distance learning students at attractive price points, across a range of specialisations that adequately engage with the workplace needs,” said Stadio. “As such, we believe that the group is well positioned to meet the growing demands of the country’s higher education needs.”

Shareholders can expect a R40 million dividend payout.

Listen to Stadio CEO Chris Vorster’s interview on SAfm Market Update (or read the transcript here): 

Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

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