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Navitas returns to profit in FY2013

International education giant Navitas has returned to profit in FY2013 after a tough 2012, largely due to improved operating conditions in its biggest market, Australia.

Net profit climbed by 2% to AUS$74.6m following a 5% fall in 2012

The firm, which offers pathway, English language, vocational and corporate courses in a number of countries, saw revenue climb by 6% to AUS$731.7m and net profit by 2% to $74.6m. This follows a 5% profit fall in 2012.

“Following several challenging years in key markets we did see a general improvement in FY13, especially in Australia”

CEO Rod Jones explained: “FY13 was a year of consolidation for Navitas as we continued to recover from the largely policy driven headwinds of the last few years and implemented some major structural changes following our recent strategic review.”

Operational highlights included a return to student enrolment growth in the University Programs division, which offers pathways and degree programmes at 30 colleges spanning Asia, North America, Europe, Africa and Australasia.

Enrolments, which fell by 3% last year (mainly due to policy barriers in the UK and Australia) increased in all regions in FY2013, while the company set in motion expansion plans in New Zealand and the US. Revenues increased by 9%, although a merger with the under-performing Student Recruitment division this year tempered growth.

Navitas’s English language offer (exclusive to Australia) also saw modest growth after a 24% profit fall for the now defunct English Division last year. The newly created Professional and English Programs Division (which merges English and corporate programmes) recorded a 4% increase in revenues.

Key growth areas were Australian government contracts and Navitas-owned education businesses such as ACAP, HSA and NCPS. “A modest recovery in English language demand, enhanced by cost recovery measures instigated in FY12 and FY13, also supported earnings growth,” said the company.

“A modest recovery in English language demand also supported earnings growth”

Navitas has been buffeted by a tough operating environment in Australia over the last few years, caused by a national overseas enrolment downturn and high dollar. Its SAE media studies chain, bought in 2011, is also yet to live up to billing profit-wise.

However, government immigration policy reforms in 2013 have spurred recovery, said Jones, and the devaluation of the Aussie dollar spells good things for 2014.

“Following several challenging years in key markets we did see a general improvement in FY13, especially in Australia where the introduction of streamlined visa processing and [improved] post-study work rights has created stronger interest from international students,” said Jones.

“With University Programs enrolment growth, an expected return on recent investment from SAE and continued strong Professional and English Programs performance we anticipate solid growth in FY14.”

Navitas restructured its operations in FY2013 after a strategic review by the management consultancy the Parthenon Group.

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