March 2007 issue

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Don Quijote takes over Amerispan in the USA

Don Quijote, the Spanish language school chain owned by Enforex but operated as a stand-alone company, has formed an American division and it has bought the assets of Amerispan, one of the biggest agencies in North America, as it faced collapse.

Amerispan';s President and Co-Founder, John Slocum, told Language Travel Magazine that the company had never recovered financially from a downturn in profits since September 11, 2001. With large debts owing to banks, other creditors and many of its partner schools around the world, there is consternation in the language travel industry that significant debts have been left outstanding – Slocum cited debts of US$645,000 in a letter to partners, of which US$300,000 was to Enforex, US$345,000 to banks/credit card companies and other creditors, and a further unspecified "large amount" to other language school partners.

A sum of at least US$290,000 is still owed to other partner schools, according to an association of affected schools that has been formed to work together and reclaim debts. Called the Association of Unpaid Language Schools (see www.aulas.ws.), Aulas estimates the real debt to be closer to US$500,000 and has stated its mission is to "propose a fair and equitable solution is arrived at with respect to Amerispan Unlimited';s default on its obligations to language schools worldwide". It estimates that around 40 language schools have been affected.

At the time of going to press, a variety of solutions had been presented to Aulas by Antonio Anadon, Owner of Don Quijote and Enforex. He explained that he holds a 12 per cent share in Amerispan, acquired nine years ago for a five-year exclusivity deal for Amerispan clients studying in Spain, but his current relationship was as a creditor only. He offered various solutions, one of which was to undertake to work with all Amerispan partners for a minimum of two years under the same terms, or until outstanding debts were paid. However, Aulas rejected the offers and wrote, "This fails to recognise Enforex';s inherent responsibility as a shareholder of Amerispan and the new de-facto owner of Amerispan." It said that it would begin fundraising to mount a legal case against Amerispan and Enforex for debts owed.

Slocum claims Amerispan has no funds, no assets and is unable to honour its debts since the takeover of its name and website by Don Quijote USA; the "best overall bid" for the company. However, since the announcement, some schools have been paid, according to Aulas. And Anadon paid for all students starting their courses from January as part of the deal, although he denied responsibility for remaining debts. He said he paid for 450 students who would otherwise have been affected by a business collapse, saying that he wanted to help avoid such an event. In the long-term, it was "a business decision" as to whether relationships with schools would be continued, said Anadon – some schools compete with Enforex/Don Quijote schools.

A number of ex-partners of Amerispan told Language Travel Magazine that all of their 2006 invoices were unpaid and the situation had evolved because of long-standing payment problems, usually resolved eventually. Jorge Barroso of Academia Falcon in Mexico noted, "Amerispan still owes us a great deal of money."

UK ELT fared well in 2005

The big players of the English language teaching market in the UK had a good year in 2005, according to the latest report from Brian McCallen Research. In the round-up of company accounts for the calendar year, the indications are that while some companies saw their sales and profits fall back slightly, the majority managed to improve their financial returns; a good performance which underlines the limited impact of the terrorism attacks in July 2005 in London.

OISE made the most significant headway because of the acquisition of Regent Language Training in 2004, which was reflected in the 2005 accounts. With sales of UK£27.3 million (US$53.7 million), OISE is now the largest player by far in the country, and since then, it has gone on to purchase even more schools, this time in Canada (see Language Travel Magazine, November 2006, page 6).

Second-largest school in terms of revenue was Embassy Education Services, trading as Study Group. This company, since sold to Champ Private Equity (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2006, page 6), was in fact the most profitable in that year, with pre-tax profits registered of UK£2.9 million (US$5.7 million).

The Bell Educational Trust was the third largest school in terms of turnover, followed by EF, then St Giles. Aspect, the third-most profitable company after Embassy and OISE, was in sixth position and this company has also been sold, to Kaplan, since these accounts were filed.

The combined turnover of the 10 leading schools in the report was UK£113.4 million (US$223.2 million) and their aggregate pre-tax profits UK£8 million (US$15.7 million) resulting in an average profit margin of 7.1 per cent.

For further details please contact info@brianmccallenresearch.co.uk

EU expansion spells more business

The expansion of the European Union (EU) on January 1 to include two more members, Bulgaria and Romania, could mean more business for education institutions already in the trading bloc, according to agencies in the new member countries.

Diana Timofte, Managing Director of International Education Center in Romania, pointed out that the first main change that will affect the outbound market is the liberalisation of air travel. "More and more low-cost airlines [will be] flying to and from Romania and increased competition will translate into more routes," she said, "many of which are poorly served to date."

She added that the cost and time involved in aquiring a visa will no longer be a factor, while the subsidised tuition available at EU universities will prove a draw. "On the whole, we do expect an increase in business and more opportunities and we are preparing accordingly," Timofte told Language Travel Magazine.

Fellow Romanian agent, Daniela Pavoni of Mirunette Viaggio, said that she believed the UK and Germany would be the most popular study destinations for Romanians applying for Bachelor and Masters degrees. But she added that even with lower tuition fees, accommodation prices would still be very expensive for many.

In Bulgaria, Nikola Georgiev of Association Niki-M STA, noted that as well as access to cheaper air services and education, access to a wider labour market might fuel a drive to learn European languages. "C;The competition in the labour market will increase and people without the necessary language abilities will face a lot of difficulties in finding a job," he said. "Therefore, we believe that many people will still look for different types of programmes that can increase their potential."

UK school wins business award

Language school ILS English in Nottingham in the UK has won a regional award for international business communications. Supported by UK Trade & Investment, the Regional Language Network, the East Midlands Development Agency and the Business Network for

International Trade, the EMIBCA awards honour "effective international solutions within the communications realm". ILS English won the award in collaboration with Empower Training Services for training programmes provided for overseas governments and businesses from Libya, Russia, Algeria, Hungary and Iraq.

Anna Dragun, Managing Director of the school (centre), said, "We are pioneering new methods of delivering courses by working in collaboration with local businesses."

China more popular with Koreans

According to recent statistics made available by South Korea';s Education Ministry, China and Southeast Asia have risen in popularity as study destinations in the last five years, while the market share of Koreans studying in North American and Australasian countries decreased in the same timeframe.

The ministry reports that 10,351 primary, elementary and high school students left to study in China or Southeast Asia in the 2005 school year; nearly five times more than the 2,137 students recorded leaving in 2000. China was the intended destination for 6,340 students with a further 4,011 heading to Southeast Asia. The Phillippines has been noted as an increasingly popular and affordable option for Koreans (see Language Travel Magazine, September 2006, page 20).

In the same period, numbers of students heading to all other countries listed by Yonhap News increased but not by as much. Overall, market share for the USA declined by 8.6 percentage points to 34.6 per cent; by 1.5 per cent for Canada to 12.6 per cent and by 1.2 per cent for New Zealand to four per cent. Meanwhile, Australia';s market share increased from 4.6 per cent to 4.8 per cent as it performed the best of the English speaking destinations. Student numbers increased from 918 in 2000 to 1,674 in 2005. European countries were not cited in the research.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.






English Australia
Perth Education City
Quality English

Alphe Conferences
International House
       World Organisation

ICEF Online
Language Travel

Malta Tourism

English Australia
Eynesbury College
       of English
Flinders University -
Tafe International
       South Australia
University of
       Adelaide English

Idioma - Escola de

Bodwell College
College of New
Collège Platon
inlingua Vancouver
Maple Ridge / Pitt
       Meadows School
       District #42
National School of
Stewart College
       of Languages

Mandarin House

Global Study
       (Karlov College)

Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, Ireland,
       Malta, NZ, South
       Africa, UK, USA)
Bell International
Camp Beaumont
City College
ELT Banbury
English Studio
Globe School
       of English
ILS English
International House
       World Organisation
LAL Language
       and Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
Malvern House
       College London
Oxford Brookes
Oxford Intensive
       School of English -
       OISE (Australia,
       England, France,
       Germany, Spain,
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
St Bedes
       Summer School
St Giles Colleges
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
Tellus Group
Twin Group
West London
       Business College

Carl Duisberg
       (England, Germany)
Prolog- International
       House Berlin

Alpha College
       of English
High Schools
       (Australia, Canada,

EC - English
       Language Centres
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa)
inlingua Malta
International School
       of English
Malta Tourism

       Management AB
       (Russia, Ukraine)

EAC Language
       Centres and Activity
       Camps (England,
       Ireland, Scotland,

Escuela de Español
       la Brisa S.L.
Malaca Instituto -
       Club Hispánico SL

EF Language
       Colleges Ltd
       (Australia, Canada,
       China, Ecuador,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, Malta, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Scotland, Spain,
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Italy,
       Japan, New
       Zealand, Russia,
       Spain, Switzerland,

American Language
Hun School of
       Princeton, The
Kaplan Educational
       (Canada, UK, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International
University of
       California Riverside
University of
       California San Diego
University of Illinois
       at Urbana-
Zoni Language
       (Canada, USA)


Perth Education City

Queen Ethelburga's
St Bedes
       Summer School
St Christopher
Worksop College

University of
University of Stirling

ELS Language
       (Canada, USA)
Monterey Institute
       of International