Capella Education Co. said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net profit fell 6 percent, although it beat investors' expectations, and that it formed a venture with CareerBuilder to develop courses sought by U.S. employers.
Capella also said it plans to divest its British unit, called Arden University.
The Minneapolis company, best known for the online Capella University education service, said it earned $11.6 million in the October-to-December period. The profit amounted to 96 cents a share, a penny more than the consensus of analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.
Capella forecast a slight decline in new enrollment at Capella University in the early part of 2016, excluding the effect of selling the British subsidiary. Its shares fell 3 percent Thursday.
Its active enrollment rose 1.8 percent and new enrollment fell by 5.6 percent in the latest quarter. Revenue was up 1 percent to $109.5 million.
"A key goal for Capella University in 2016 is to deliver annual new and total enrollment growth," Steve Polacek, the company's chief financial officer, said in a statement. "In addition, we are accelerating investments in growth opportunities that we believe create a higher return for our shareholders."
In the new venture with CareerBuilder, Capella said its Capella Learning Solutions subsidiary, which provides services for employers, will use real-time labor data from CareerBuilder's jobs website to design educational programs directly aligned with the needs of companies.
In the venture, to be called RightSkill, Capella and CareerBuilder will create and offer online courses in high-demand fields such as web development and information security. The courses will be short, designed to be finished in less than 90 days, and at a low cost with a guarantee. Costs would be reimbursed if a job seeker doesn't get a position within three months of taking a course.
"CareerBuilder is providing us with insights that will enable us to design nondegree programs very close to real-time, and provide students with unprecedented transparency about what they can expect for their investment of time and money," Kevin Gilligan, Capella's chief executive, said in a statement. "This partnership represents the most direct path between learning and employment."