Curro – Back to school, back to reality

With a third of COH parents employed in the SMME sector, we assess the risk of SMME job losses on COH enrolments. We find that SMMEs were under pressure prior to the lockdown, with SMME employment growth outpacing SMME employment costs between 3Q18 and 3Q19. We believe the lockdown restrictions likely increased the pressure on SMMEs. Given the average Curro fees, we think Curro SMME-employed parents likely work for a formal sector SMME as salaries tend to be higher than at informal SMMEs. In our view, 2Q20 SMME job losses are unlikely to pose a significant risk to 2H20 enrolments, as Curro discontinues services to learners at the end of the year, as opposed to during the year. We believe parents could opt to keep learners enrolled at Curro in 2H20 despite falling behind on fees. We evaluate the potential opportunity for Curro enrolment gains arising from the closure of non-subsidised independent schools. Despite the impact of COVID-19 on independent schools, we believe it is unlikely that a mass closure of non-subsidised independent schools will occur in FY20.