Drums fall silent for private schools group Pembury

Business

Drums fall silent for private schools group Pembury

Suspended from JSE after missing results deadline

Marc Hasenfuss

Scarcely a year after listing on the JSE, the shares of Pembury Lifestyle Group – which holds private education and retirement village assets – are already in limbo.
On Wednesday the JSE suspended Pembury’s shares after the company failed to publish its financial statements for the year to end December within the stipulated three month deadline.
The last traded price for the shares was 32c, giving Pembury a suspended market value of R128-million. The company listed in March 2007 after placing shares at 100c per share to raise R140-million.There was initial market scepticism around the Pembury listing, which appeared an opportunistic attempt to capture the red-hot sentiment (at the time) for much larger private education counters like Curro Holdings and Advtech.
In a SENS statement Pembury explained that an accounting issue stemming from the acquisition of retirement village assets was delaying the publication of the financial results.
The company said the specific accounting issue related to the fair value issue price for the acquisition, the purchase price allocation, consideration of accounting for “usufructs” (in relation to life rights on the retirement segment) and obtaining a legal opinion.
Pembury said other key matters were also being addressed.
The company said it would only be in a position to publish its results and finalise the annual report during May.
A trading statement would be published around the middle of this month.
Last year Pembury’s core private schools segment issued a medium-term target of 13 campuses by 2020 and indicated a willingness to diversify into the technical side of tertiary education. The longer-term target was set at 17 campuses comprising 45 schools.

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