Shares of Grand Canyon Education Inc. (LOPE -0.18%), an education services company offering solutions that include marketing, strategic enrollment management, counseling services, financial services, among many others, were down as much as 12% before recovering to a more modest 4% decline as of 11:44 a.m. EST Friday after the release of third-quarter results.
This is the first quarterly result without Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, which has returned to its nonprofit status, leaving GCE to provide education services to the university in return for 60% of its tuition and fee revenue. GCE posted revenue of $155.45 million during the third quarter, slightly topping estimates and a 9.7% increase from the comparable revenue during the prior year's third quarter. Its third-quarter adjusted earnings per share checked in at $1.06, higher than the prior year's $0.82 per share and ahead of analysts' estimates calling for $1.00 per share. The revenue jump was driven in large part by GCU's 8.2% increase in enrollment at the end of the third quarter, compared to the prior year.
Now that GCE is solely responsible for educational services, it becomes an intriguing company that can now expand to offer its services to other universities. "We continue to work at the process of adding new GCE clients. In the next 30 days, we will meet with five universities to discuss the possibility of a future partnership," said Brian Mueller, GCE's CEO, president, and director, on the third-quarter conference call. Going forward, if GCU continues strong enrollment growth and GCE can get new customers for its services, there's plenty of upside remaining for investors.