Curro's R1.5 billion rights offer gets shareholder nod, paving way for possible new acquisitions

A general view of Curro School Bloemfontein on June 02, 2020. 
Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images via Getty Images
A general view of Curro School Bloemfontein on June 02, 2020. Photo: Frikkie Kapp/Gallo Images via Getty Images

Curro shareholders have voted in favour of a proposed R1.5-billion rights offer to help the private schooling group reduce its debt as it navigates the Covid-19 economy and prepares to possibly take over other private schooling groups struggling to make it through the pandemic. 

Curro first announced on June 18 that it intends to raise up to R1.5 billion.

At the time of the announcement, it said shareholders would be able to snatch up the new shares at R8.07 per share. This was roughly a 10% discount to the 30-day volume weighted average traded price on the JSE at the time of the initial announcement. The group's shares were trading at R8.79 by midday on Monday.

After 99.98% of shareholders voted in favour of the rights issue, Curro said in a statement that it will be issuing 185 873 606 partially underwritten new shares. Dates for the offer will be published in due course, but the private schooling group anticipates the offer to close during the final week of August or the first week of September.

Curro's rights offer had the support of its major shareholders from the get-go, the company said at its annual general meeting early in July. Its anchor shareholder, the PSG Group, has already subscribed for 103 million Curro shares, and underwritten a further 40 million of rights on behalf of other shareholders.

PSG CEO, Piet Mouton, said on Friday that Curro was expecting "numerous opportunities" to present themselves as schools that had been operating at break-even point before the pandemic would find themselves in a difficult situation now.

One private schooling group that was struggling even before the lockdown is Pembury Lifestyle Group (PLG). It has faced liquidation applications from a service and its external auditor. But other private school groups have also had to make some adjustments to retain learners including fee remission and rebates.

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