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CIBT to raise $110m after ELT college acquisition

Students at Vancouver International College. Photo: VIC.

"Right now a lot of our focus is on student housing; our supply and demand for available beds is almost 100 to one"

CIBT will work to build collaboration between VIC, which enrols some 1,300 students per year, and Sprott Shaw College, a career and technical college which it bought in 2007.

“VIC has had stable growth in the last five to 10 years, despite what happened with the global financial crisis”

The two colleges will create pathway programmes, through which international students will undertake English language training at VIC before progressing to Sprott Shaw or another of CIBT’s partner schools in British Columbia.

VIC has experienced consistent growth in recent years and has a 16-year reputation as a quality provider, CIBT’s CEO and president, Toby Chu, told The PIE News.

“It is very stable – this is not one of those rising stars that shot to the moon, but it has had stable growth in the last five to 10 years, despite what happened with the global financial crisis,” he said.

The college also has a good student mix, which CIBT can add to, Chu said.

“They have a lot of students from Japan and South Korea and Latin America; we think we can add more value such as bring in some Chinese students, some Brazilian students and some Eastern European students to make it even more international.”

Global Education City Holdings Inc., CIBT’s accommodation provider subsidiary, will house international students attending VIC.

CIBT is currently building up its investments in the accommodation space, and is developing two ‘super centres’ that will host both student accommodation and education providers: the Global Education City in Vancouver and Education Mega Center slated for development in Surrey, BC.

Last month the group signed a financial advisory agreement with TriView Capital Ltd to raise an aggregate of $110m equity, of a total $400m to be spent on the two super centres.

Since it began developing a housing portfolio two and a half years ago, CIBT has developed more than $165m worth of accommodation.

“It all sold out, whatever is available, so that investors finally see that we are able to build those rooms quick and so fast so it becomes a no brainer when we start raising the $110m,” Chu said.

The two centres aim to answer booming demand for student housing in BC, which is suffering from a major undersupply.

“Right now a lot of our focus is on student housing; our supply and demand for available beds is almost 100 to one,” he commented. “We are looking at a 0.3% vacancy rate – it is probably more than 100-1 – there is just not enough.”

On the provider side, CIBT’s strategy includes making “at least one education asset for acquisition every year”, Chu said.

The group is currently looking at two other schools for sale in Vancouver and intends to buy one, he added.

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