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3 JSE Listed Education companies (Curro, Stadio, Advtech). Here is our top pick.

April 16, 2024
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FinMeUp
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FinMeUp

Our research has led us to invest in two of the three companies.

For education companies, it takes years to build a solid foundation, brand, modules, accreditation, physical infrastructure, and efficient operating systems. But, once everything is in place, it is easy to scale and grow margins.

Why education stocks?

  • One of the biggest issues faced by Africa is a lack of quality education. No matter what the market conditions are, education will always be a necessity and in demand.
  • The pandemic truly served as a catalyst for online learning. A learning medium that would likely only see adoption in many years, was pushed forward and presented these companies with a massive opportunity. Online learning is much easier to scale, and it requires much fewer investments in physical capital.
  • Potential to scale into Africa.

So, with education being at the forefront of human progress, which of these three JSE stocks is the best? Its time to lock horns: Stadio vs Advtech vs Curro.

 

Stadio

KEY FINANCIALS:

  • Market cap: R2.66B
  • P/E ratio: 22.87
  • Dividend yield: 1.42%
  • Share price: 322c
  • 1-year return: +8.50%
  • 5-year return: -28.38%

ABOUT:

STADIO Group is an investment company in Private Higher Education, supporting three prestigious institutions: Stadio Higher Education, Millpark, and Afda. 

Collectively, the Stadio Group offers over 90 accredited programmes, from Higher Certificates to Doctorates, through Contact (16%), Distance (84%) and Blended Learning. 

STADIO currently has over 38 000 students. It has surpassed most traditional universities in the number of students, including UCT, US, and UFS. Stadios goal is to challenge UNISA, which is currently the biggest online tertiary institution in Africa with over 400 000 students.

VALUATION METRICS:

  • Clients (students): +9% to 38 262. 3-year CAGR: +9%
  • Revenue: +18% to R1 098m 3-year CAGR: 20.15%
  • EBITDA: +23% to R309m. 3-year CAGR 33.94%
  • Current ratio: 1.08
  • Debt to Equity: 12.08%
  • P/E: 23.62
  • P/S: 2.71
  • P/CF: 15.71


 

Advtech

KEY FINANCIALS:

  • Market cap: R9.05B
  • P/E ratio: 13.64
  • Dividend yield: 3.01%
  • Share price: 1660c
  • 1-year return: +3.88%
  • 5-year return: -1.13%

ABOUT:

ADvTECH is Africa's largest private education provider. The company operates in both the schools and tertiary education segments.

The Schools segment offers pre-primary, primary, and secondary education services. It consists of 109 schools across South Africa and parts of Africa. The school division includes brands such as Crawford International, Trinityhouse Schools, Abbotts Colleges, Maragon Schools, Centurus Colleges and Junior Colleges.

The Tertiary segment provides diploma, degree, and post-graduate services. Consists of 9 brands and 33 campuses. Brands include Varsity College, Rosebank College, Vega, MSA, Capsicum, School of hospitality and service management, Oxbridge Academy and Mindsharp.

Advtech currently has 36 802 learners and 47 539 students across all its institutions, bringing its total client base to 84 341. 

Building capacity: Roughly 83% of existing building capacity is utilised and 65% of ultimate capacity is utilised. (Fairly unchanged in the last 5 years). 

VALUATION METRICS:

  • Learners: +8.55% to 36 802. 3-year CAGR: 6.08%
  • Students: +4.1% to to 47 539. 3-year CAGR: 6.25%
  • Revenue: +8% to R5 917m 3-year CAGR: 10.47%
  • EBITDA: +13% to R1422m. 3-year CAGR 13.35%
  • Current ratio: 0.28
  • Debt to Equity: 58.23%
  • P/E: 13.64
  • P/S: 1.58
  • P/CF: 8.31

 

Curro

KEY FINANCIALS:

  • Market cap: R6.46B
  • P/E ratio: 25.37
  • Dividend yield: 0.75%
  • Share price: 1090c
  • 1-year return: -5.38%
  • 5-year return: -68.54%

ABOUT:

Curro Holdings Limited is engaged in the provision of independent schools and education services. The Company develops, acquires and manages independent schools for learners from the age of three months to Grade 12. The different school models are Curro & Curro Select, Curro Academy, Meridian, and Curro Castles (nursery schools).

Curro provides education services to approximately 66,000 learners in over 110 schools across South Africa and Namibia.

VALUATION METRICS:

  • Learners: +7.15% to 66 167. 3-year CAGR: 8.80%
  • Revenue: +14.5% to R3 543m 3-year CAGR: 12.29%
  • EBITDA: -16.0% to R686m. 3-year CAGR 4.59%
  • Current ratio: 0.62
  • Debt to Equity: 45.08%
  • P/E: 25.37
  • P/S: 1.94
  • P/CF: 8.97

 

So, whos the best?

In our opinion, Stadio takes home the gold, Advtech the silver, and Curro the bronze.

Stadios revenue and EBITDA growth rates are impressive. The fact that they can maintain such a growth rate without using much debt is what separates them from the rest. 

Advtech delivers the best ROE, ROA and ROIC, but given they age of the company, this can be expected. 

In our opinion, Curro is not a great investment at these prices, given a P/E of over 25. Advtech is solid and we believe that one will see decent returns with this company over the long term.

We think Stadio offers the bang-for-buck. It might take some time to reach the top, but we believe this company has the best chance to challenge UNISA and become the biggest online tertiary institution in Africa.

 

This is not financial advice. Always do your own due diligence before taking a position. Content is for educational and informational purposes only.


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