Tree House shuffles top deck, to add 150 pre-schools this year

Mumbai-based pre-school chain operator Tree House Education & Accessories Ltd has shuffled its top deck and said it would maintain the previous year's growth momentum in terms of adding new centres to its network.

The company has appointed Sanjay Shah as chief financial officer replacing Utsav Shrivastava. Shrivastava, who had earlier served Centurion Bank, Citibank and Standard Chartered Bank, has been re-designated as head of HR, the company said.

Meanwhile, Tree House Education is planning to add 150 pre-schools to its existing portfolio. This would be almost 25 per cent growth, matching the last year's addition. It has already opened 35 new centres as part of this in the first quarter ended June 30, 2015 and its current count of pre-schools stands at 647 spread across 97 cities in the country.

“In FY16, we look forward to entering new markets like Delhi-NCR along with several other attractive markets across the country,” said Rajesh Bhatia, founder and managing director of the company.

Apart from pre-schools, it has a portfolio of 24 large format K-12 schools. It runs over four-fifths of its pre-schools itself as against Zee Learn. Zee Learn runs India's largest pre-school chain KidZee, but banks on a franchisee-led expansion model.

In the first quarter Tree House reported 28.1 per cent rise in operating revenues to Rs 69 crore with operational EBITDA rising 32.8 per cent to Rs 44.19 crore. Its net profit rose 12 per cent to Rs 18.02 crore over the year-ago period. Net profit growth was partly muted due to higher tax outgo though this was moderated due to cushion from other income.

The company had raised Rs 200 crore early this year through a QIP to finance expansion and to cut debt. It has also been looking to monetise some physical assets which house its K12 schools by selling land and building with a lease-back agreement.

The pre-school chain is backed by Omidyar Network, Foundation Capital, Matrix Partners and Aditya Birla PE, among others.

Multi-stage private equity firm Matrix Partners has been part-exiting the company in tranches.

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