MindChamps PreSchool, the largest premium pre-school operator and franchiser in Singapore and the only listed one here, is planning to have centres operating in Beijing by August.
The company plans to grow initially by acquisition in China, specifically focusing on the capital, said chairman and group chief executive officer David Chiem yesterday.
This follows an announcement last month that MindChamps had entered a joint-venture agreement with China First Capital Group to create a fund that will raise an initial $200 million tranche for establishing and acquiring pre-schools in China.
The two also created a new company to act as master franchisee for China.
The move into China is part of the firm's ambitions to become the world's top brand of early childhood education, said Mr Chiem.
MindChamps announced late last year that it would also be expanding into Myanmar and Vietnam. Other markets Mr Chiem said MindChamps wants to expand into include the United Kingdom and Australia, where the company acquired four centres last year.
MindChamps, which debuted on the Singapore Exchange last November, currently has over 50, mostly franchisee-owned, pre-schools and enrichment centres here and in Australia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and the Philippines.
In the financial year ended Dec 31, MindChamps' net profit fell 15 per cent to $4.6 million, as higher costs offset its higher revenues.
AT A GLANCE
$22.8 million (+24%)
Its earnings per share for the year ended Dec 31 stood at 2.45 cents, down from FY2016's 2.99 cents.
No dividend has been recommended for the current financial period.
A one-tier tax exempt interim dividend of $10.10 per share was declared for the previous financial year, before the group's initial public offering (IPO).
MindChamps' revenue rose 24 per cent to $22.8 million, largely thanks to a $3.2 million gain in school fees from new centres it acquired or opened. But cost of sales rose 28 per cent to $7.7 million due to higher staff costs. Operating administrative expenses rose 39 per cent to $9.7 million due to the scaling up of its operations and expansion overseas.
The company announced on Feb 28 that it has acquired all the shares in a centre in Woodlands for $1.31 million, and would pay for it with some of its cash from its IPO proceeds.
Singapore Press Holdings is a shareholder of MindChamps.
MindChamps' shares changed hands one and a half cents lower, at 74 cents apiece yesterday evening.