Top picks 2012: New Oriental Education
The leader in private schooling benefits from China's one-child policy and emphasis on credentials.
By Paul Goodwin, Cabot China & Emerging Markets Report
New Oriental Education (EDU) is the leader in the private education sector in China. The company specializes in teaching languages, especially English, and test preparation courses; it also offers a varied curriculum that includes primary and secondary education.
With more than 11,300 teachers and 1.8 million enrollments in 2010, this is a substantial business. New Oriental has more than 50 schools and 400 other learning centers, as well as nearly 30 company bookstores and over 5,000 third-party ones.
Revenue at New Oriental is driven, in part, by China’s one-child policy. This means each child may have two parents and four grandparents helping to pay tuition (and six people providing the pressure to do well). There is also a general tendency in China to value educational credentials as a route to success, which provides a strong base for the company to build on.
Revenue grew by 44% in fiscal 2011, and earnings were up 42% in the first quarter, 100% in the second quarter and 44% in the third quarter. The stock has been correcting since September, dipping back to October 2010 levels, which provides a low-risk entry point.
The company has no debt and has cash reserves of over $706 million, which augurs well for a build-out in both bricks and mortar and online activities.
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