European University of Cyprus may be up for sale, report suggests

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By Stelios Orphanides

Laureate Education Inc., the owner of the Nicosia-based European University of Cyprus (EUC), is considering selling its subsidiaries in Italy and Germany, as well as its Cypriot unit, which declined to comment.

Information about the intended sale appeared first in the Education Investor website on August 23.

The Laureate Education, which acquired EUC in 2005 and completed in February its NASDAQ listing at a price of $14 (€11.7) per share, is the largest for-profit higher education group world-wide, operating more than 70 educational institution in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania with more than a million students worldwide, according to its website.

The subsidiaries, which include the BiTS University of Business Leadership in Hamburg, three other institutions of Germany’s BTK Group in Berlin, Hamburg and Iserlohn, and Italy’s fashion schools Domus Academy in Milano and Bologna’s Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano, generated last year a total of $25m in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, Education Investor reported.

Laureate Education’s total liabilities at the end of June stood at $5.7bn down from $6bn at the end of 2016, mainly on the sale of two other subsidiaries in France and Switzerland. In the first half of the year, it generated a $116.4m net profit compared with a net profit of $347.4m in the respective period of 2016. In the financial year 2016, net earnings were $41.3m.

The EUC is one of the five private universities operating in Cyprus under a licence issued by the Ministry of Education.

According to Education Investor, Laureate Education appointed Macquarie Group to advise on the sale of the subsidiaries.

The chief executive officer of EUC, Christophoros Hadjikyprianou denied the report saying that both Laureate and the EUC are still investing in future projects.

“Just twenty days ago, we completed our investment in Dental Surgery with a six million (euros) investment,” Hadjikyprianou said in a telephone interview.

Laureate Education and Macquarie did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Laureate share dropped 2.5 per cent on Tuesday to $14.54.

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About Author

Stelios Orphanides is a journalist at CyprusBusinessMail.com. To contact Stelios Orphanides: [email protected]