New Oriental Education & Technology Group (NYSE:EDU) said Friday it predicts first-quarter earnings to be sharply below analyst estimates due primarily to low enrollment, causing its shares to slip more than 13%.
China’s largest provider of private educational services expects revenue for the quarter ended August 31 to be in the range of $181.4 million to $192.9 million, which, though up 29% from $149.4 million a year ago, is lower than average analyst estimates of $195.8 million, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
The company expects earnings in the range of $1.60 to $1.64 a share, which, while up 10% from a year ago, is below the Street’s view of $1.90.
The company, which offers English language instruction and test prep courses in China, attributed the weaker earnings to “disappointing” student enrollment growth of approximately 8%, down mostly due to a shorter summer break and the Shanghai World Expo, which adversely affected enrollment in its Shanghai school by 6%.
The expo, which drew large crowds to the city, may have hindered enrollment from students who were looking to avoid the crowds and the associated elevated lodging and meal expenses.
Actual first-quarter earnings are scheduled for release on October 18.