Last month it acquired 40% of the College of Sports and Fitness for AUS$300,000 cash and shares, and 100% of Discover English for AUS$190,000. At the end of August, the publicly-traded company reported a 34% revenue increase to AUS$38 million.
Academies Australasia offers education across English language, vocational, high school and higher education sectors. It focuses on the international student market and teaches students from 114 countries.
Group Managing Director, Christopher Campbell, said the acquisition of Discover English was part of the company’s efforts to expand. “It was an interesting college, stand-alone in Melbourne. It made sense for us to do it,” he told The PIE News. “We’ve got one college in Sydney teaching English and it seemed to be the right time.”
Despite the recent downturn, education is one of Australia’s largest industries, ranking in the top 10 for ”gross value added” in the national accounts.
“We press on, confident that quality education institutions, with stamina, have a real role to play”
Industry players say that stagnant enrolment numbers and financial demands from the new Tuition Protection System have caused many small operators to the feel the pinch. Recent modelling says it could take a decade for the market to recover from a revised migration policy, inflated currency and stiff competition globally.
Campbell said the group remained optimistic in the face of a negative outlook. “We press on, confident that quality education institutions, with stamina, have a real role to play, and can do well. Education is of vital importance, both domestically and overseas. It is a clean and truly sustainable business,” he said, adding that international education “deserves the serious attention of those charged with the responsibility for the nation’s future.”
Last year, Academies Australasia’s acquisitions included 51% of Benchmark College for AUS$5.5 million and for AUS$1.1 million, 75% of Melbourne-based Academies Australasia Polytechnic (previously named AMI Education).
Founded in 1908, Academies Australasia became listed on the Australian Stock Exchange more than 35 years ago and is Australia’s longest listed education group. Its colleges offer certificates, diplomas, advanced diplomas and bachelor and master degrees in a range of subjects.