SFO drops probe into Intueri's defunct Quantum unit
Intueri Education Group says the Serious Fraud Office has ended its investigation into the unprofitable company's defunct Quantum Education Group and won't take further action.
The SFO had been looking into enrolments at Quantum, which is still under investigation by the Tertiary Education Commission. Intueri said it has until May 12 to respond to the TEC's draft investigation report.
Intueri's 2014 initial public offering at $2.35 a share allowed vendor Arowana International to net about $102 million while selling its stake down to 24.9 percent and provided $60 million to pay for the acquisition of Quantum, which at the time it boasted had "a course completion rate above 90 percent, one of the highest rankings of any PTE provider in New Zealand." The shares last traded at 1.3 cents
In its 2015 year, Intueri wrote down the value of Quantum by $53.1 million, including wiping $27 million off the value of the school's brand and goodwill to take it down to zero, which it said reflected stricter enrolment criteria imposed by the TEC. Some of Quantum's courses have since been absorbed into Intueri's other colleges.
"Intueri is very pleased that the SFO enquiry has been closed," chair Chris Kelly said. "We are focused on providing a response to the draft TEC report, and look forward to a conclusion of that investigation shortly. We are continuing to focus on delivery of quality vocational learning opportunities for both domestic and international students in New Zealand through our three PTE groups."
Last month Intueri said it had reached a standstill agreement over some $70.7 million of bank debt with ANZ Bank New Zealand after breaching a lending covenant. It hired High St Capital Partners to drum up interest in the private training establishment company, as a sale proposition either as a whole or in parts. The company closed its Australian operations on March 29, having failed to convince education authorities to re-register its colleges across the Tasman or renew funding.