Meten EdtechX Education Group Ltd (NASDAQ:METX) said it expects to significantly scale revenues in 2020 driven by a rapid shift to online learning as the transformed company reported financial and business results for full-year 2019 and for the first quarter of 2020.
The company became a new entity on March 30, 2020, following a merger between EdtechX Holdings, the world's first special purpose acquisition company focused on investing in the education services and education technology industry, and Chinese omnichannel education group Meten.
For full-year 2019, the group posted revenue of 1.44 billion renminbi (US$208 million), a year-over-year increase of 1.7% compared to 1.42 billion renminbi in 2018. During the fourth quarter of 2019, the firm clocked up revenue of 352.9 million renminbi (US$50.7 million) compared to 359.6 million renminbi a year earlier.
In the first quarter ended March 31, 2020, the company clocked up revenue of 181.6 million renminbi (US$25.6 million), compared to 314.8 million renminbi it posted a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic forced a temporary closure of it’s learning centers in early February. The company noted that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic the "resilient performance" in the first quarter was supported by "accelerated growth in online English language training."
The firm reported a net loss for full-year 2019 of 225.1 million renminbi (US$32.3 million) compared to a profit of 53.4 million renminbi in 2018. The net loss during the fourth quarter 2019 came in at 165.5 million renminbi (US$23.8 million), up from 8.4 million renminbi in fourth quarter 2018.
In a statement, Alan Peng, chief executive officer of Meten EdtechX told shareholders that the firm’s 2019 financial performance was significantly impacted by one-off investments, including a curriculum upgrade, restructuring and integration of the ABC Junior business, and the one-off accrued expense from accepting students from WEBi, a major competitor that wound down its business during 2019.
The Shenzhen-based company took quick action to adjust its model in light of the pandemic. In response to the closures, the company quickly shifted to an online learning model, with approximately 19,000 students, or 52% of its offline student base, taking up online courses with the company - excluding those enrolled on the Likeshuo platform. An additional 1,400 offline students enrolled onto the Likeshuo online platform during the first quarter of 2020, it said.
“Thanks to our established online ELT business, a large portion of our offline students took the opportunity to enroll in our online classes, which led to a higher number of hours delivered online versus the same quarter of the previous year,” Peng noted, adding that the increase in online revenues only partially offset the impact of the learning center closures.
“Looking ahead, we believe that events of 2020 will accelerate the trend of growing acceptance of online education which can effectively be combined with face-to-face lessons for an optimal learning experience,” he added. “At Meten EdtechX, we are well placed to benefit from this trend and remain fully committed to our medium-term growth strategy.”
The company ended 1Q 2020 with 152.2 million renminbi (US$21.5 million) in cash and equivalents. It recently completed a private placement of US$36 million to boost the expansion of Meten’s offering of English language teaching, its online platform Likeshuo and to fund future acquisitions.
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