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CIBT Education Group Inc. (MBA) (TSX.MBA, OTCQX: MBAIF, Forum) is one of the largest education and student housing investment companies in Canada focused on the domestic and the global education market since 1994.

The Market Herald Canada’s Brieanna McCutcheon recently caught up with company CEO Toby Chu to get our investor audience up-to-date on all things CIBT.

TMH: Can you update our Market Herald investor audience and your CIBT shareholders on any new company developments since we last connected in April?

Photo courtesy CIBT Education Group Inc.

TC: Yes. Since the last interview six months ago time flies. We have been quite busy maintaining our existing properties and continue looking at various acquisition opportunities. So far, we have recently reported our Q3 report, and I think we are doing quite well. As projected, we saw a steady recovery in the international education sector which drove our international education revenue up 225% year over year. Correspondingly our education segment also drove our student housing revenue up 84% year over year. Our properties are full, including our GEC Grandville hotel located in downtown Vancouver, which is pretty much all sold out throughout the summer of July and August with no vacancy. During the Q1 and Q2 of this fiscal year, we saw a slowdown in investment appetite due to geopolitical pressures and rising interest rates, inflations and all those not-too-good things. So what we did is we slowed down our real estate development acquisition pace for prudent reasons until the market sentiment finds its way, the economy are searching for a space. We made further progress with our projects on hand, from rezoning approvals to construction permits issuance. We plan on starting construction for at least two projects in the coming quarters totalling over 500 million in value, pending interest rates and construction costs.

TMH: Is the international student market returning as expected, and if so, why?

TC: The international education market recovered quite rapidly, faster than what we were expecting. This trend occurred across the education sector; not just us, but our partner schools are extremely busy and have been taking up rental units in big blocks from us. The trend is understandable because the pandemic shut down the borders for nearly two and a half years. During this time, graduates of 2020 and 2021 from around the world did not travel and accumulated in the pipeline. So they all are now coming back in the 2022 semester.

TMH: How are the company’s education and housing businesses faring, given the global economic conditions at present?

TC: Students still need a place to live, and education is ongoing. So it didn’t impact us as much as the beginning of 2020 when people were scared, like, what is going on? So we are experiencing strong growth in the international education sector, which drove up our occupancy rate across all of our rental properties.

TMH: Toby, CIBT’s expansion and acquisition plans have seemed to slow down in 2022. Any updates on new developments?

TC: As I mentioned earlier, the economic uncertainty during Q1 and Q2 of this fiscal year caused us to stay low and focus on those projects on hand. We are seeing some changes in the investment sentiments now, and we are looking at new acquisition opportunities, especially when the market is not faring too well. We saw a few potential acquisitions that we are now considering at a reasonable price.

TMH:  What can you tell us about CIBT’s overall outlook for Fall 2022 and Fiscal 2023?

TC:  We have a number of projects on hand. So we expect a very busy fall season which will create many activities in the fall and yield financial results in fiscal 2023. So depending on the global economic outlook for the next year, we have the flexibility to scale up or slow down our pace while focusing on projects already in our acquisition pipelines.

TMH: And finally, Toby, if there’s anything I’ve overlooked, the floor is all yours.

TC: We are good. I look forward to furthering our updates in the coming quarter.

Thanks again for joining us at Stockhouse today, Toby. Look forward to chatting with you again…

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by the Market Herald Canada. 

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