KUALA LUMPUR: HELP International Corp Bhd aims to develop 20 to 25 of its own degree programmes annually.
Senior vice-president Dr Khong Kim Hoong said this might sound like a large figure, but the education group had already been running six masters and 33 bachelor's degrees programmes that it developed.
The first batch of students from HELP's own degree programmes would graduate next year, Khong told StarBiz in conjunction with the group's second board listing slated for May 22.
President and founder Paul T.H. Chan said HELP's degree programmes would focus on niche segments.
We are developing masters and bachelor's degree programmes in economic crimes, which no one has done yet in the country, Chan said.
He added that the group was working with some top universities in the US and Britain on the project.
Some of its own degrees that HELP offers are Bachelor of Asian Business, Bachelor of Communications, Bachelor of Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Business Accounting and Bachelor of Business Marketing.
On whether the university college planned to set up branches overseas, Chan said: We work in association with partner universities through various collaborative models, but it is not our strategy to invest in campuses outside Malaysia.
We are very prudent in the way we manage our financial resources. We find it more satisfying to sell intellectual property.
HELP's prospectus said that it had direct licensing agreements with various institutions in Indonesia, Vietnam and China, among them Bidakara International Education Institute in Indonesia, Vietnam National University and Shanghai International Studies University.
This was partly possible through the building of the group's brand through its long-running collaboration with various partner universities, said Chan.
We will continue these relationships, as they are important to our reputation and quality, he said.
For the future, HELP sees Africa and Vietnam as good markets for expanding its reach.
It expects the number of students from Africa and Vietnam to double to 400 and 300, respectively, by the end of the year.
The total student population of HELP stands at just over 8,000, with international students from 61 different countries making up 18%.
At the group's prospectus launch recently, CIMB co-head of investment banking K.C. Kok said that HELP would provide a new dimension to investors' portfolios.
Among the listed educational institutions, the HELP group has the enviable distinction of being consistently profitable in recent years.
In fact, its net profit has risen steadily, from RM5.7mil in 2004 to RM6.6mil in 2005 and RM8.1mil last year, he said.
During its financial year ended October 2006, the company recorded revenue of RM53.5mil.
The company has forecast a net profit of RM8.9mil for the 2007 financial year.
This translated into a price-earnings multiple of eight times based on the initial public offering (IPO) price, Kok said.
CIMB Investment Bank Bhd is the adviser and underwriter of the listing exercise.
HELP's IPO of six million shares for the public has been oversubscribed by 44.92 times.
A total of 28,519 applications for 275.5 million shares were received, Malaysian Issuing House said in a statement.