LISTED Phinma Corporation is looking to expand its services in the education sector through the acquisition route in line with its goal of hitting a student population of 100,000 in three or four years, a company official said.
In a recent interview, Phinma president Ramon del Rosario Jr. told reporters that the education segment is one of the businesses that the company would like to focus on.
“We always believe that the role of business is not just to make profits but really to make lives better, and that really means helping in nation-building,” Del Rosario said.
Oover the past 10 to 12 years, Phinma has expanded its education business. “And now we have five schools—four universities and one college—and our total enrolment is now about 54,000 students,” he said.
These five schools are Phinma Araullo University, Phinma Cagayan De Oro College, Phinma University of Pangasinan, Phinma University of Iloilo and Southwestern University.
In 2015, the company incorporated Phinma Education Holdings, Inc., a holding company for the firm’s investments in education.
“Our tuition in the four schools—Southwestern University is a little different, it’s midmarket–the four other schools are all designed to serve the poor and their target is the market where the tuition is only about P15,000 per semester,” Del Rosario said.
Phinma Corporation chairman Oscar Hilado has said the company is targeting enrolment of 100,000 students across all of its schools.
“We are looking at a hundred thousand students. That’s the target that we have set for ourselves,” Hilado said.
“When we started in this business, we said we would have a target of five universities. We already have that and I think we are going to go beyond that,” he said.
Del Rosario said they expect to achieve this target in the next three to four years and to reach this goal, they are on the lookout for schools to acquire.
“We continue to look for more schools to acquire and we continue to experience very robust growth in the schools that we’re in,” Del Rosario said.
Phinma is also planning to expand its education business overseas, particularly in Myanmmar, where it runs a small training center that caters to around 40 to 60 students. Del Rosario said they are thinking of developing the center into a nursing school.
“We want to develop a full nursing college to start with and then do the sorts of things we’re doing here. General college or university offering other courses, accounting, engineering,” he said.
“Maybe in the next three years, you will see some significant developments there,” Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said the company continues to look for opportunities to expand its education business in the Philippines “but there are many groups now looking for schools also so they’ve become more expensive, but this is good for Philippine education.”
“Responsible Philippine businesses getting involved in education, I think, is an excellent development because it makes available not only the resources but [also]the expertise of the business community, if their heart is in the right place and they really care about providing good quality education,” Del Rosario said.