On 11 May 2018, Top Education Group Ltd (“TOP”; stock code: 1752.HK”) was successfully listed on the main board of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Ms. Li Minwen, the Chief Operating Officer of China First Capital Group Limited (“CFCG”; stock code: 1269.HK) was invited to attend the listing ceremony. During the first trading day of TOP, its shares were actively traded with impressive share price performance. The closing at HK$0.395 per share represented an increase of approximately 19.7% over the offer price of HK$0.33 per share.
TOP, a private higher education provider based in Sydney, Australia, currently has two academic divisions, TOP Business and TOP Law with accredited undergraduate and postgraduate award courses in Australia. Established in 2001, TOP is committed to providing quality education with a current focus on higher education courses in business and law. TOP has received the first Bachelor of Laws course accreditation for a non-university institution in Australia granted by the LPAB.
TOP positions itself to serve a diversified and international education market where most students come from China. During the track record period, students from China constituted more than 86% of its student headcount. TOP is the first and the only for-profit non-university higher education provider listed on the JSJ List of 42 recognised Australian universities and higher education providers, which allows its awards to be recognised by the Ministry of Education of China and increases awareness and interest in its Institute in China.
As an Australian higher education provider with a substantial Chinese students population, TOP is well-positioned to seize opportunities in Australia and China in the international higher education environment. According to Ipsos, Australia is currently the second most popular destination for Chinese students studying overseas. TOP anticipates that as the disposable income of Chinese families increase, the number of Chinese students studying overseas will also grow. In order to further support the growth of international education export, the Australian government introduced a ten-year plan in 2016 called the ‘‘National Strategy for International Education 2025’’. It is estimated that the number of student enrolments can potentially increase from nearly 500,000 in 2015 to as high as 990,000 by 2025.
In May 2016, PwC Australia entered into a long term Alliance Agreement with TOP. Under the co-brand arrangement, both parties are committed to integrating education with industry and enhancing students’ actual working ability and working skills, with an aim to solve the challenge faced by the international education sector, which is to prepare students better for smooth transition to workplaces and enable them to be well-prepared to start their career in business, law and other relevant professional areas. Both parties will also actively develop non-award corporate senior management training projects. The alliance cooperation with PwC is an important milestone in the history of TOP. The cooperation will enhance the reputation, market position and future development outlook of TOP.
Looking ahead, TOP will continue to develop the higher education provision in Australia as its core business, and expand its reputation, presence and synergies in China to take advantage of China’s growing economy and educational opportunities. At the same time, TOP will expand its non-award programs with PwC Australia to supplement its core higher education business. In addition, TOP will develop its infrastructure and delivery model from traditional methods towards a more updated and digital direction.
During the IPO period of TOP, First Capital Securities Limited (“First Capital Securities”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of CFCG, acted as the Joint Bookrunner and Joint Lead Manager for TOP. First Capital Securities has previously participated in a number of listing projects of Chinese education enterprises, such as being the Joint Bookrunner and Joint Lead Manager for China Xinhua Education Group Limited (stock code: 2779.HK), China YuHua Education Corporation Limited (stock code: 6169.HK) and China New Higher Education Group Limited (stock code: 2001.HK), and being the Joint Lead Manager for Minsheng Education Group Company Limited (stock code: 1569.HK). First Capital Securities was ranked the 21st on Bloomberg’s list of securities dealers by IPO underwriting business in Hong Kong in terms of amount of IPO proceeds raised in 2017, with about 1.40% market share, and it was ranked the 9th in terms of the number of IPO underwriting in Hong Kong for the PRC companies in 2017.
CFCG said, “We are honoured that First Capital Securities acted as a Joint Bookrunner and Joint Lead Manager in the IPO of TOP. We would like to extend our gratitude to TOP for its recognition of the underwriting ability of First Capital Securities, while congratulating TOP on the listing and its booming business. Regardless of the advantages of resources in the education industry or our own professional qualifications, the participation of First Capital Securities in a number of listing projects within several years has proven the strength of CFCG. CFCG will continue to diversify our business, with education investment as cornerstone and financial services and education operation as support to CFCG. The combination of the three key operations has enabled CFCG to achieve a balanced development. CFCG is aspired to build a platform for education operation, investment and financing in the education sector, powered by “Education Operation and Financial Services” dual-pronged strategy. These efforts can facilitate CFCG’s dedication to operation in and integration of high-quality education enterprises, and provide education institutions with investment and financing channels and advisory services, thereby connecting the education industry to the capital market and discovering and adding to the value of education companies.”