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Visa problems continue to impact AEC Education’s UK business

publication date: Oct 1, 2012
AEC Education, the Singapore based AIM listed provider of educational programmes and English language training, has reported a loss before tax of £670k (2011: £298k profit) for the six months ended 30 June 2012 on revenue little changed at £9.0m (2011: £8.9m). According to the company, the first half year loss reflects losses of £939k incurred by AEC’s UK operations including restructuring and £272k set-up costs in new Malvern House English colleges in Dublin and Oman. The company expects its full year result to be impacted by UK performance and investment in growing the business. The company had net cash of £2.9m (2011: £3.2m) at the 30 June 2012.


AEC’s business activities cover three areas: the provision of university and professional programmes up to postgraduate degree level in partnership with UK universities and professional bodies in Singapore and Malaysia; the provision of English language courses under the Malvern House brand; and the provision of LCCI examinations and qualifications across Asia through Educational Resources, AEC’s Singapore-based subsidiary.


AEC reports continued growth in Asia with the company’s operations in Singapore performing strongly and Malaysia seeing a significant strengthening in student numbers. However, the LCCI agency business is no longer core to AEC’s strategic plans despite the business maintaining its performance at the same level as in the prior year. Following Pearson’s acquisition of EDI in July 2011, LCCI’s business-related qualifications became part of Edexcel’s portfolio of international qualifications. Pearson’s acquisition of EDI also came with a 6.79% shareholding in AEC. The market expectation is that Pearson will ultimately take control of its South East Asia LCCI agency partner Educational Resources.


In the UK, the company’s English language business has been impacted by the visa regime for non-EU students and in the first half year AEC restructured its Malvern House business incurring one-off costs of £292k. In March 2012 AEC acquired Skye – a government funded training business now rebranded MH Training Services. The business is currently a relatively small part of AEC’s UK operations and since acquisition the company has appointed an operations director to grow the business.

In the second half of FY12 AEC expects to achieve further revenue growth in Asia and some improvement in the UK following the earlier restructuring. Looking ahead to FY13 the company is focused on the growth potential of both its English Language teaching outside of the UK and its operations in Singapore and Malaysia.




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