CIBT Provides Update on Student Housing Operations
Vancouver, B.C., April 1st, 2020 – CIBT Education Group Inc. (TSX: MBA, OTCQX International: MBAIF) (“CIBT” or the “Company”), is pleased to provide a corporate update to investors regarding the operational status of its GEC® student housing portfolio and the impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 on the student housing operations.
With COVID-19 numbers continuing to rise across the globe and in Canada, CIBT Education Group is pleased to report that, to date, most GEC® properties for long-term stay students have experienced minimal adverse business effects from the virus. However, since the implementation of travel bans around the world and the suspension or reduction of flights, our short-term-stay hotel has experienced cancellations from visitors and tourists. Fortunately, leveraging the strategically designed business model of its student housing operations, the Company has managed to switch its short-term stay facility into student accommodation, immediately replacing cancellations with new bookings.
The last few weeks have been difficult for domestic and international students that live in dormitory-style residences across the globe. The traditional dormitory-style facilities incorporate a co-living design with a large number of students sharing a communal kitchen, shower stalls, and a shared lounge area. Students face a high-risk of COVID-19 community transmission in such an environment. For safety reasons, universities are requesting their students to vacate their dormitory and return after the summer, while many countries are imposing travel restrictions and self-isolation upon arrival. As a result, students are facing early termination of their school residences while many of them are unable to return home.
In comparison to the traditional dormitory-style design, all GEC® properties are either rental apartments or hotels. GEC® long-term stay properties are demised units with a self-contained kitchen, living room and bedrooms, much like what one would find in a traditional apartment. Our hotel property has both single and twin rooms, and certain rooms come equipped with a kitchenette. Therefore, unlike traditional dormitories, the design of GEC® properties aids in reducing the chances of community transmission.
The Company is now working with local universities and colleges to offer their students accommodation at GEC® properties at a discounted rate supplemented by early move-in incentives. This arrangement helps those students affected by the social distancing policy while staying in Metro Vancouver to complete their studies.
“As a result of the outbreak of COVID-19, businesses in all sectors have been forced to adjust operations for the safety of employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders,” said Toby Chu, Chairman, President and CEO of CIBT Education Group. “With the number of cases of infections continuing to rise, social distancing must be observed everywhere including in university residences where community transmission is causing serious concern.
“When we started our GEC® education-related real estate business six years ago, our objective was, and still is, to provide safe and affordable accommodations to students coming to study in Metro Vancouver. Our business model has always been to build rental properties that are self-contained, demised units. While this global pandemic is unprecedented, we are in a position to provide safe, clean, convenient and private accommodation to students that are in desperate need of self-contained housing. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
About CIBT Education Group:
CIBT Education Group Inc. is one of the largest education, and student housing investment companies in Canada focused on the global education market since 1994. Listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and U.S OTCQX International, CIBT owns business and language colleges, student housing properties, recruitment centres and corporate offices at 45 locations in Canada and abroad. The total annual enrollment for the group exceeds 12,000 students. Its education providers include Sprott Shaw College (established in 1903), Sprott Shaw Language College, Vancouver International College and CIBT School of Business. Through these schools, CIBT offers business and management programs in healthcare, hotel management, language training, and over 150 career, language and vocational programs. CIBT owns Global Education City Holdings Inc. (“Global Education”), an investment holding and development Company focused on developing education related real estate such as student hotels, serviced apartments and education centres. The total portfolio and development budget of projects under Global Education’s GEC® brand is over C$1 billion. The various GEC® properties provide accommodations to over 1,500 students and other tenants. CIBT also owns Global Education Alliance (“GEA”) and Irix Design Group (“Irix Design”). GEA recruits international students on behalf of many elite kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities in North America. Irix Design is a leading design and advertising company based in Vancouver, Canada. Visit us online and watch our corporate video at www.cibt.net.
Chairman, President & CEO
CIBT Education Group, Inc.
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