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Afya - Leveraging Technology to Promote Education | EMQQ

Afya LTD (AFYA) is a leading Brazilian for-profit medical education company that specialises in medical courses delivering an online end-to-end physician-centric ecosystem that serves and empowers medical students and doctors to be lifelong medical learners. Afya's IPO listed on the Nasdaq on July 19, 2019, at $19 per share [1].

Leveraging Technology to Promote Education

Afya uses a unique approach that combines integrated content in the classroom, online interactive learning, and adaptive experience for lifelong medical learners. Through their educational content and technology-enabled activities, they focus on practical, personalised learning that mirrors one-on-one tutoring. Afya has the largest medical education footprint in Brazil with goals that align well with the Brazilian Government. Their undergraduate and graduate campuses extend across 12 Brazilian states, and their cloud-based digital medical platform is available across all of Brazil [2]. 

Education for Life

AFYA students start with their medical residency preparation, through their graduation program, and then stay on for the continuing education program, (CME). Afya was developed with the ambition to start a revolution in the way doctors acquire knowledge throughout their careers. Afya combines excellent content with cutting-edge technology, to be an educational reference helping doctors to exercise the nobleness of their profession. The foundations for the curriculum, make use of their team's expertise from more than 20-years of experience, working with medical courses.

By the Numbers

Medical education provides highly predictable growth, strong profitability, and cash generation for Afya's investment case. Over 98% of their historical revenue is from monthly tuition fees they charge students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses [3]. 

End of Third Quarter 2019 Statistics

Market Cap    $565.3 mil

Revenues    $109.7 mil (last 12 months)

Net Income    $32.95 mil (last 12 months) [4]

Other Disciplines

Afya's health sciences courses include medicine, dentistry, nursing, radiology, psychology, pharmacy, physical education, physiotherapy, nutrition, and biomedicine.  Afya also offers degree programs and courses in other subjects and disciplines across several of their campuses. Those other subject matters include undergraduate and postgraduate courses in business administration, accounting, law, physical education, civil engineering, industrial engineering, and pedagogy. These non-health courses are not part of their core business, although the number of non-health sciences courses they offer has increased as a consequence of its strategic acquisitions of multi-disciplinary schools with strong health sciences programs. Although non-health courses are not part of their growth strategy, they expect to continue to offer them to the extent they generate local demand. It will be interesting to see if they extend the online continuing education programs into other professions.

Brazil and the novel coronavirus

Brazil reported its first confirmed case of the novel coronavirus at the end of February 2020. The patient was a 61-year old businessman who had traveled to Italy and returned to Sao Paolo. Brazilian Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said the health ministry decided to push up the date for its national flu vaccination campaign to March 23. Despite being different viruses, Mandetta explained it would help avoid confusion stemming from the presence of similar symptoms that can overload the health system. Doctors in Brazil have turned to educational news, online message boards, and educational programs from their universities to stay up to date on the detection and treatment of the novel coronavirus. The planning for the development of continuing education courses on the virus is already underway. The educational need for doctors on the novel coronavirus could be a long term positive for Afya Ltd [5]. 

Summary

Afya is the leading medical education player in Brazil, with the potential to reach 11,300 medical students, paying monthly tuition or education subscription. Growth was driven by an increase in medical school enrollments, higher average tuition fees, as well as, acquisitions. Adjusted EBITDA increased 147% year over year to approximately BRL 81 million in the third quarter of 2019, with the EBITDA margin expanding 380 basis points to 39.2%, driven by operating leverage from the maturation of medical schools, higher average tuition and synergies from acquisitions. They maintain a healthy financial position with net cash of BRL 911 million, which we believe to be sufficient to support their growth strategy. The increase in cash compared to the year-end of 2018 reflects the IPO proceeds [6]. 

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Article Date: 20th March 2020. 

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