Curro makes first cross-border school acquisition

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Curro, which abandoned a takeover bid for smaller rival Advtech in July, will pay 180 million rand for Windhoek Gymnasium, an independent school in the capital of neighbouring Namibia.

If approved by antitrust authorities, the transaction will add 1,500 students to the 36,000 Curro has on 42 campuses in South Africa, the company said.

Curro, which raised 740 million rand in May to buy new schools, said it wants to expand enrollment at Windhoek Gymnasium to 2,600 as it pushes toward a goal of 80 schools and 90,000 students by 2020.

Before letting go of its bid for Advtech due to opposition from the target’s management and parents, Curro Chief Executive Chris van der Merwe referred to a possible merged entity as a “continental champion” of $1.5 billion.

Advtech earlier this year bought a school in Botswana and this month said it plans to raise 850 million rand for further acquisitions. Growing African economies have created a surging market for education among an expanding middle class unsatisfied by underfunded state schools.

Shares in Curro were down 1.36 percent at 36.99 rand at 1300 GMT, compared to a 1.81 percent fall in the Johannesburg Securities Exchange’s All-share index.

Source: Times Live

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