Brazil medical educator Afya plans acquisitions, international expansion

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian medical education group Afya Ltd AFYA.O plans to double the number of undergraduate students, to acquire companies and expand internationally, following its initial public offering on Nasdaq, said Chief Executive Officer Virgilio Gibbon.

In a share offering that saw high demand, Afya priced its shares at $19 on Thursday, one dollar above the top of the price range, and raised roughly $260 million for the company. Existing shareholders also sold a small portion in Afya.

Shares in Afya surged roughly 28% on its debut on Nasdaq on Friday, closing at $24.09 a share.

Gibbon said in an interview that Afya will seek the acquisition of new schools in Brazil, without disclosing the name of potential targets. Tech companies focussed on improving medical learning are also on the radar.

By 2025, the number of undergraduate medical degree students is likely to reach 10,000 from the current 5,000.

The CEO also thinks the medical school company could expand outside Brazil in the long term. “The use of technology enables Afya to replicate its business in other countries,” he said, without disclosing which areas are under consideration.

Afya is joining another Brazilian educational company on Nasdaq, Arco Platform Ltd ARCE.O, which began trading its shares last year. Reuters was the first to report, in April, Afya's intention of doing an IPO.

Reporting by Carolina Mandl; editing by Jonathan Oatis