Intueri on track to beat IPO forecast

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 13:42 25/08/2014

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Education company Intueri's first financial results since listing on the NZX and ASX in May have been boosted by strong growth in New Zealand's international student market and online learning.

Intueri Education Group posted an unaudited profit after tax for the six months to June 30 of $1.6 million, up from $500,000 the previous corresponding period.

Revenue was up 71 per cent due to Intueri's 50 per cent acquisition of Online Courses Australia Group and 100 per cent acquisition of Quantum Education during the period.

On a pro-forma basis, assuming Online Courses Australia and Quantum were owned throughout 2013 and 2014, revenue would be $36.2m, ahead of the prospectus forecast by 2.3 per cent.

Intueri chief executive Rob Facer said he was pleased with the company's progress since achieving the "milestone" of listing and its acquisitions of Online Courses Australia and Quantum.

The results for the half year indicated the company was on track to achieve its prospectus forecasts and had already recorded 47 per cent of its forecasted revenue for the full year, with stronger second-half revenue expected.

Facer said the company was reviewing further acquisitions and organic growth opportunities.

He would not say what options were on the table but Intueri was carrying out a range of discussions, which included acquisitions and growth opportunities in New Zealand, Australia and further afield.

"I won't promise any fish before I go fishing."

But he said he hoped some of the discussions would come to fruition before Christmas.

Intueri was approached with growth or acquisition opportunities almost every week but it would not become a dumping ground for struggling private training establishments (PTEs), Facer said.

Meanwhile, the company's international and online segments continued to grow ahead of expectations.

The international student market in New Zealand accounted for 23 per cent of revenue and income from the segment was expected to continue to grow by 15 to 25 per cent a year.

The market contributed $2.6 billion a year to New Zealand's GDP and Education New Zealand planned to double that value by 2025, Facer said.

Almost half of international students in New Zealand studied at PTEs and Intueri was the largest provider.

The bulk of Intueri's students came from North and Southeast Asia but South America was a future growth area.

The company's online education segment, which accounted for 13 per cent of revenue, was the fastest-growing education segment globally.

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Intueri expected revenue from its online segment to grow by 30 per cent each year, Facer said.

However, things were not looking as strong closer to home.

Intueri's half-year profit was impacted by a softer than expected rebound in Christchurch.

More than 60 per cent of the company's revenue came from domestic tertiary education and while the business was not generally impacted by the labour market Christchurch was an anomaly, Facer said.

There had been a reduction in the company's target population in the area and higher wages meant potential students were picking work over study, he said.

But the company was optimistic about the domestic segment and expected a pickup during the second half of the year and into 2015.

A later-than-expected lift in midyear domestic revenue also weighed on Intueri.

"While trading was slightly softer in the New Zealand domestic market, the fundamentals of the business in this important market are sound and we are also encouraged with the strong progress made in our online and international segments with the positive momentum flowing into the second half," Facer said.

Intueri maintained its full-year pro-forma forecasts given in its prospectus.

The industry training company has about 10,000 enrolled students in courses ranging from design and arts, beauty therapy, hospitality and tourism, business, computing and commercial diver training.

The company's shares last traded at $2.90 a share, 23.4 per cent above their issue price of $2.35 a share.

- Stuff

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