Curro Holdings buys three private schools

2011-12-15 08:43

The Alt-X listed Curro Holdings, a new private school provider for middle-income earners, has made its second acquisition in less than a month.

Curro has agreed to buy three schools under the Meridian banner for R25 million in Rustenburg, Pretoria and Polokwane, reported Business Day.

It also recently bought a private school, Woodhill College, in Pretoria East.

Next year, it will be developing Curro Krugersdorp, northwest of Johannesburg, Curro Port Elizabeth and Curro Burgersfort, all parallel medium Afrikaans/English schools.

Curro’s business plan is to offer private school services to lower- and middle-income earners.

Business Day said its monthly tuition for the lower-income segment would range from R700 to R950 per month for primary schools and up to R1 300 for high schools.

Middle-income earners will pay about R2 400 for primary schools and R3 400 for high schools, while the top end of the segment would charge R3 500 for primary tuition and R4 000 for high school tuition.

Curro’s website said by the end of this year it had 12 schools with 5 540 learners countrywide. Curro plans to have built 40 schools with 40 000 pupils by 2020.

“We realised throughout this year that the market is even bigger than we thought,” its CEO, Chris van der Merwe, said in a recent interview with Moneyweb.

News of its latest acquisition comes in the same month that the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that school governing bodies in Gauteng did not have unqualified power to determine admission policy at state schools.

In a column in The Times newspaper today, University of the Free State rector Jonathan Jansen warned that the court ruling would see middle-class parents removing their children from state schools.

“Expect the middle classes to move their children into private schooling if a higher court does not reverse this disastrous decision,” wrote Jansen.

“Expect poor children to be stranded en masse in the indistinguishable schools we failed to fix.”

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