04/02/2009 - 22:00

Navitas delivers record profit

04/02/2009 - 22:00

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PERTH-BASED education services company Navitas has defied the global economic slowdown by reporting a lift in interim profit to a record level and outlining plans to pursue further international growth.

Navitas delivers record profit

PERTH-BASED education services company Navitas has defied the global economic slowdown by reporting a lift in interim profit to a record level and outlining plans to pursue further international growth.

Navitas has effectively created a new industry by offering pre-university and university pathway programs for domestic and overseas students on a full-fee paying basis.

Its chief executive, Rod Jones, was last year named Ernst & Young's entrepreneur of the year for Australia.

The company lifted half-year net profit for 2008-09 by 15 per cent to $19 million, while revenues rose 34.1 per cent to $217.4 million.

Mr Jones said while education was not recession proof, it was somewhat resilient to economic downturn.

"Internationally there has been no real impact at this point in time. Our application growth has continued, if we can measure it forward for the next two semesters, we'll have significant growth in March, we believe, and we're certainly well in front for the July intake enrolments as against the same time last year

"We haven't experienced a downturn in enquiries [internationally], education is a priority in the developing countries."

International growth has been a priority for the company. It has recently established four new international campuses, including Curtin University's Singapore campus and colleges in Canada and the UK.

Mr Jones said a business development unit had been established to identify further opportunities in North America and other markets.

"Our expectation is that we'll be announcing a couple more [deals] in the UK in the next couple of months and we're also in discussions in a number of other places which hopefully will come into fruition," he said.

Earnings growth was led by university programs, which delivered a 36 per cent increase in operating revenue to $132.4 million, up from $97.3 million from the previous year.

Total earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation for the division was $31.4 million, up from $24.4 million in the previous corresponding period, an increase of 29 per cent.

Other divisions lifted revenue but their earnings were mixed.

The english language division increased EBITDA to $5.9 million.

The workforce training division slumped to an EBITDA of just $100,000, under the effect of acquisition costs and one-off charges, while student recruitment posted lower earnings of $1.3 million, under the effect of accounting adjustments.

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