Net Profit Soared by Approximately 61.1% YOY to Approximately RMB147.1 Million;
Determined Interim Dividend of HK4.9 Cents per share;
Growth in Performance Surpassed Guideline in Profit Alert Announcement
Edvantage Group Holdings Limited (“Edvantage Group” or the “Group”, stock code: 0382.HK) announces its unaudited interim results for the six months ended 29 February 2020 (the “reporting period”). The Group operates four schools during the reporting period, Huashang College Guangdong University of Finance and Economics (“Huashang College”) and Guangzhou Huashang Vocational College (“Huashang Vocational College”) in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (“Greater Bay Area”) of the PRC, and one private vocational education institution in Australia, Global Business College of Australia (“GBCA”), as well as NYU Language School, a private education institution in Singapore, which was acquired during the reporting period.
Financial Highlights (for the six months ended 29 February 2020)
– Number of student enrolments increased by 8% YoY to 35,300
– Average tuition fee of Huashang College increased by 11.3% YoY to RMB24,315
– Average tuition fee of Huashang Vocational College increased by 3.4% YoY to RMB15,573
– Revenue rose by approximately 18.9% YoY to approximately RMB418.3 million
– Gross profit increased by approximately 23.3% YoY to RMB204.1 million
– Gross margin climbed 1.8 ppts to 48.8%
– Adjusted net profit1 surged approximately 35.4% YoY to approximately RMB150.8 million
– Adjusted net profit margin rose by 4.4 ppts YoY to 36.1%
– Net profit2 surged approximately 61.1% YoY to approximately RMB147.1 million
– Net profit margin climbed 9.2 ppts YoY to 35.2%
– Interim dividend per share is HK4.9 cents
Note: (1) Adjusted net profit includes three one-off adjusted net profit items: 1) Net foreign exchange loss and gain (FY2020 Interim: Loss of RMB2,364,000; FY2019 Interim: Gain of RMB565,000); 2) Share-based payments relevant to a share option scheme and share award scheme as incentive for employees (FY2020 Interim: RMB1,345,000; FY2019 Interim: nil); 3) Listing expenses (FY2020 Interim: nil; FY2019 Interim: RMB20,710,000); (2) Profit from continuing operations
During the reporting period, the Group recorded an outstanding growth performance in its interim results. The total number of student enrolments amounted to 35,300, representing a year-on-year (“YoY”) increase of 8.0%. The average tuition fee of Huashang College was RMB24,315, representing a YoY increase of 11.3%, while Huashang Vocational College’s average tuition fee was RMB15,573, representing a YoY increase of 3.4%. Revenue rose by approximately 18.9% YOY to approximately RMB418.3 million. Gross profit rose by approximately 23.3% YOY to approximately RMB204.1 million, while gross margin rose by 1.8 percentage points YOY to 48.8%. Adjusted net profit grew by approximately 35.4% YoY to approximately RMB 150.8 million, while adjusted net profit margin grew by 4.4 percentage points YOY to 36.1%. Net profit soared by approximately 61.1% YOY to approximately RMB147.1 million, while net profit margin increased by 9.2 percentage points YOY to 35.2%. The Board of Directors of the Group declared an interim dividend of HK4.9 cents per share.
Business Operation Overview
During the reporting period, Huashang College moved up six spots from the previous year to the 29th place in the 2020 ranking of top independent colleges released by CUAA.NET and was rated as “China’s Top-Level Independent College”. During the reporting period, Huashang College offered 37 undergraduate courses, including three new major courses, namely, taxation, cosmetic science and technology, and science of Chinese traditional medicine. In terms of student enrolment in the 2019/2020 school year, the top five majors were accounting, English, international economics and trade, financial engineering and Chinese literature. Among majors, accounting and journalism were designated as a “featured key disciplines in Guangdong Province” and “key development disciplines in Guangdong province” respectively and included in “leading top undergraduate majors for development in Guangdong province”. In the 2019/2020 school year, the minimum scores of liberal arts and science students for admission to Huashang College were 31 and 28 points higher than minimum admission scores of Guangdong Province, respectively. During the reporting period, the total number of student enrolments in Huashang College was 24,110, representing a YOY increase of 6.5%, and the average tuition fee for its students was RMB24,315, representing a YOY increase of 11.3%.
Huashang Vocational College offered 44 junior college diploma programmes during the reporting period, including 10 new programmes such as medical aesthetics technology, health management, interior art design and automotive electronics technology. Among the majors, tourism and hotel management were rated by the Education Department of Guangdong Province as “key development disciplines”. During the reporting period, the total number of student enrolments in Huashang Vocational College was 10,661, representing a YOY increase of 11.8%, and the average tuition fee for its student enrolments was RMB15,573, representing a YOY increase of 3.4%.
GBCA offers vocational education courses and non-academic short-term courses. A total of 22 training courses were offered during the reporting period. These courses are divided into five categories: interpreting, English, business and accounting, information technology and childcare and community services programmes. Students will receive certifications issued by GBCA which are recognised or endorsed by relevant training agencies, such as the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters, or a diploma or advanced diploma upon completing all courses required by the respective programmes. During the reporting period, its number of student enrolments was 506.
During the reporting period, the Group acquired NYU Language School, a Singaporean private school. Established in 1991, the school has attained the authoritative EduTrust certification from the Ministry of Education, Singapore. It offers short-term and long-term language training courses and various courses in preparation for entrance to Singaporean schools for Singaporeans and international students. It is qualified to offer internationally recognised courses and accept local and overseas students in Singapore. The Group has established the Singapore campus based in the existing NYU Language School. The new campus is situated in the city centre with favourable geographical location and excellent accessibility. It is also in the vicinity of various universities, including the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts, which are accessible within a short period of time. The new campus is expected to be put into use in the second quarter of 2020. The Group will then gradually add new teaching content. For example, the Group’s “Global Immersion Program” will continuously provide short-term overseas courses (such as arts and landscape design courses) for students from the families of Chinese businessmen. The number of student enrolments was 23 up to the end of the reporting period following the Group’s acquisition of NYU Language School in December 2019.
Business Update and Outlook
During the reporting period, the Group experienced the global outbreak of a novel coronavirus pneumonia epidemic (“COVID-19”). Since the industry in which the Group operates is higher education, the Group was minimally affected. In early March 2020, both Huashang College and Huashang Vocational College opened as scheduled. Guided by the national policy of “classes suspended but learning continues”, the Group actively arranged students to switch from studying offline to online, and online teaching progressed smoothly. In addition, the Group’s APP “Huashang e-Home” fully demonstrated its advantages by providing various convenient services for Internet-assisted teaching, faculty and student management services and faculty’s and students’ lives during this period for responding to the COVID-19 epidemic. The Group will also seize the online education opportunity to focus on future and constantly discover and explore typical cases, laying the foundation for reform in online education.
Looking forward, the Group will continuously strengthen its core business, vigorously develop vocational education and training business, constantly improve the quality of the Group’s education services, enhance the overall operation level and achieve higher profitability through diversified models.
Continuous Strengthening of the Core Business:
Improvement in School Condition and Proactive Deployment of Teaching Resources
New Sihui campus: The new Sihui campus will be put into operation as scheduled in September 2020. The new campus covers an area of approximately 533,300 sq. m. (800 Mu) and can accommodate approximately 16,000 students. The net increase in the number of students is expected to record no fewer than 3,000 each year.
Existing Zengcheng campus: The constructions of the Huashuang Science & Technology Centre and Huashang International Conference Centre on the Zengcheng campus are in progress as scheduled. The Huashuang Science & Technology Centre will be mainly used for related teaching activities, and the Huashang International Conference Centre will be mainly used to host industry or school-enterprise meetings, academic activities, and practical training.
Diversification of Education Services
New teaching venue in Shenzhen: The new teaching venue is located in The Mixc Commercial Zone, Nanshan District, Shenzhen and is expected to commence operation in the second quarter of 2020. It will serve mainly for the purpose of high-end vocational certificate training and examinations (training and examinations for certificates such as the certificate in finance and technology, big data/artificial intelligence (AI) certificate and related qualification certificates issued by the institute of chartered secretaries), high-end business activities and academic salons and serve as an innovation entrepreneurship base/incubator, an extracurricular practice base, and a place for delivering employment and internship skills training.
Comprehensive strategic cooperation with SenseTime: The Group signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement with SenseTime Group Limited, a world-leading AI platform company on 12 November 2019. The cooperation content includes developing AI courses (including providing general education courses for students from Huashang College and Huashang Vocational College and providing major courses for students from the school of data science in Huashang College and Huashang Vocational College) and training compound talents in combination with superior disciplines. The Group plans to offer relevant courses from the 2020/2021 school year.
Cooperation with the Southwest University of Political Science and Law: On 31 December, the Group entered into a cooperation agreement with the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing. The joint establishment of Southwest University of Political Science & Law Huashang College to award double bachelor’s degree of Business and Law inter-disciplinary talent to enhance the level of recognition and the competitiveness of its graduates. The Group expects the tuition fees of the joint programme will be considerably higher than its original single subject programme.
Comprehensive strategic cooperation with Kingdee Group: On 12 March 2020, the Group signed a comprehensive strategic cooperation agreement with Kingdee Software China Company Ltd., a leading enterprise management software and e-commerce application solution provider in the Asia-Pacific region. The two parties will work together to promote the integration of production and education, thereby developing compound application talents adapted to enterprise digital management.
Global Expansion and Improvement of Teaching Quality
New Singapore campus: The Group has established the Singapore campus based in the existing NYU Language School. Expected to commence operation in the second quarter of 2020, the new campus is situated in the city centre with favourable geographical location and excellent accessibility. It is also in the vicinity of various universities, including the National University of Singapore and the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. Besides providing long-term and short-term language training courses and various courses in preparatory for entrance of different schools, the new campus also provides college graduate degree and operates other universities’ undergraduate and master programmes, as well as kinds of non-formal education training and innovation & entrepreneurship courses.
New campus in London: The Group is advancing relevant preparations for a new campus in London. As part of the preparations, software-related work such as licensing application is ongoing, but the management of the Group decided to postpone hardware-related work due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Given this, the Group strives to further implement the hardware-related work in due course. So far, the Group has not invested much in preparing for the new campus in London.
Vigorous Development of Vocational Education Training Business:
The business of vocational education training of the Group further grew under the provisional government policy on quality classification of vocational skills, i.e. “1 + X” certificate system, introduced for vocational colleges and technical training colleges.
The business of vocational education training of the Group has high growth and gross profit margin and will become a new revenue growth factor for the Group. The Group expects that the revenue of this business segment in the financial year (“FY”) 2019/2020 will increase by approximately 50% or above YoY (approximately RMB9 million in FY2018/2019 and its gross profit margin will also exceed that of its core business (gross profit margin of the core business: approximately 48.6% in FY2018/2019. The Group has taken the following main measures recently to vigorously develop its vocational education training business:
The Group actively cooperates with industry-leading institutions/schools to offer high-end vocational education training courses in China and beyond: including Development of AI-related courses with SenseTime (expected to commence in the second quarter of 2020); Development of courses related to enterprise digital management talents with Kingdee Group (expected to commence in the second quarter of 2020); Implementation of vocational training projects in law with the Southwest University of Political Science and Law through overseas educational resources (expected to commence in the school year of 2020/2021);
More certified vocational training courses have been introduced in Zengcheng campus: such as CFA, junior accountant, computer science, teacher qualification certificate, CET 4, CET 6 and IELTS;
Further development of the School of Continuing Education in Zengcheng campus: The contribution of revenue from continuing education in the school year of 2020/2021 and beyond is expected to be more significant.
Mr. Liu Yung Chau, Executive Director and chairman of the Board of Edvantage Group Holdings Limited, said, “benefiting from national policies which support the Greater Bay Area as well as the natural demographic dividend there, Edvantage Group has been clearly positioned as ‘Nurturing professional talents for the Greater Bay Area.’ Our interim results performance in FY2020 was satisfying and surpassed the 30%-guideline stated in the profit alert announcement. Amid the epidemic, this was even more precious and was a surprise as well. We have always valued shareholders’ interests. This is the first full interim dividend since listing, which remained the 30%-rate stated in 2019 Annual Report. Since Edvantage Group was listed on 16 July 2019, the Group distributed dividends in FY2019 for the first time in FY2019 ended 31 August 2019, which was HK1 cent per share for only a 1.5-month period, while for this time, an interim dividend of HK4.9 cents per share will be distributed. Our management hope to maintain outstanding and growing performance and stable dividends to reward shareholders for their unwavering support.”
About Edvantage Group Holdings Limited
Edvantage Group Holdings Limited (“Edvantage Group” or the “Group”, stock code: 0382.HK) is the largest private higher education group in the Greater Bay Area (in terms of total student enrolments of business majors for the 2017/2018 school year), and an early mover in education sector in pursuing international expansion. The total number of student enrolments of the Group were 35,300 as of 29 February 2020. The Edvantage Group currently operates two private higher education institutions located in the Great Bay Area of Guangdong Province, China, namely Huashang College and Huashang Vocational College. Huashang College and Huashang Vocational College focus their programme offerings on business programmes, such as accounting, finance, economics and business English, and strive to help students achieve employment prospects when they graduate and benefit from the availability of employment opportunities in the Greater Bay Area. The Group also operates a private vocational education institution named Global Business College of Australia (“GBCA”) authorized by ASQA in Australia, offering vocational education courses and non-formal short-term courses. The Group has also acquired NYU Language School, a local private school in Singapore and has established the Singapore campus based in the existing NYU Language School. NYU Language School has been accredited as EduTrust by the Education Department of Singapore. The Singapore campus is expected to commence operation in the second quarter of 2020. It is qualified to offer internationally-recognised courses and accept local and overseas students in Singapore.