Intueri sees annual earnings at bottom end of guidance

The company said it sees "similar operating conditions" as advised in February.

Intueri Education Group [NZX: IQE], New Zealand's largest private training college, expects annual earnings will be at the bottom end of guidance based on current trading performance, having missed prospectus targets in calendar 2014.

The Auckland-based company said it sees "similar operating conditions" as advised in February, and that the "current performance is tracking to the lower end" of its guidance for 2015 earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between $30-33 million. It missed 2014 earnings guidance, in part because of a slower-than-expected recovery in Christchurch following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

"Against a backdrop of New Zealand's growing reputation as a destination for international students, a strong New Zealand domestic economy underpinning record high labour market participation rates, and a number of significant but welcome regulatory reforms in Australia, we have made solid progress in the 2015 financial year so far," chief executive Rob Facer said in a statement. "We continue to maintain our focus on improving quality and compliance, integrating the acquired colleges and exploring further complementary acquisitions in both New Zealand an Australia."

The company is holding its annual meeting in Auckland at 10am today, its first since the initial public offering last year.

The shares last traded at $2.08, down from the $2.35 listing price in May last year.

Presentation slides for the annual meeting published on the NZX show the company has held a number of discussions over potential acquisitions, and says sector consolidation is gaining momentum.

Auckland-based Academic Colleges Group, which bought the Yoobee School of Design from the now defunct Renaissance Corp, this month confirmed it has appointed advisers to review strategic alternatives after it was reported to have been up for sale.

Intueri today said an independent investigation by Ernst & Young into the recordkeeping of its Dive School has ended, and the Tertiary Education Commission won't take the matter further. The Dive School currently faces charges brought by WorkSafe over the death of a foreign student and, while Intueri has pleaded not guilty, it is in discussions with the government agency to seek a resolution before the next court date on June 18.

The company said net debt rose to $35 million as a result of recent acquisitions and the payment of the 2014 dividend, and is forecast to stay between $30 million and $40 million for the rest of 2015.

(BusinessDesk)

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