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SEEK to close and replace education arm

AAP logoAAP 24/11/2016

SEEK says closing and replacing its education division will result in job losses and wipe $24 million from net profit this year.

Chief executive Andrew Bassat expects impending regulatory changes for vocational education will prohibit SEEK Learning, as it will be classified as an education broker.

He said the unit will therefore be closed, and the cost of redundancies and goodwill charges are expected to reduce its annual net profit by $16 million.

There will be a "significant impact" on Seek Learning employees, and the company is adopting a "people first approach" to looking after its staff, Mr Bassat told SEEK's annual general meeting.

SEEK will launch a new education business in 2017 that provides "independent education and career insights", he said.

The new business will have an online service similar to popular travel review website TripAdvisor, and a phone-based service providing free advice on career discovery, course options and job seeking.

SEEK said the new business is expected to incur losses of about $6 million in 2016/17.

The company still expects to post an annual net profit of between $215 million and $220 million before the one-off items, up from $179 million in 2015/16.

Mr Bassat also said SEEK was in discussions with potential partners for its Chinese jobs business Zhaopin, which is the subject of takeover interest.

"SEEK is continuing to take its time to be thoughtful in assessing the right path and partners who will best support Zhaopin," he said in a presentation to the meeting.

The company's shares rose seven cents to $14.90.

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