Sylvan Learning Systems ( SLVN) raised its 2003 earnings estimate on Monday after announcing that the acquisition of two schools in Chile will boost its expected profits.

Sylvan said it acquired the entity that controls the operations of the college Universidad Nacional Andres Bello and Academia de Idiomas y Estudios Profesionales, a technical and vocational institute.

The acquisition will immediately add to earnings, the company said. Sylvan now expects to earn 85 cents to 88 cents a share in 2003, excluding items. Analysts expect 80 cents a share. Sylvan earned 93 cents a share in the previous year.

A subsidiary of Sylvan will acquire an 80% interest in the schools' parent company from a group of local investors in exchange for $68.2 million, plus estimated deal costs of between $3 million and $4 million.

UNAB is a private college in Chile offering 40 undergraduate and 18 graduate programs to more than 15,000 students. AIEP offers more than 30 technical and vocational programs to over 5,000 students.

Recently, shares of Baltimore-based Sylvan were up $1.60, or 8%, to $22.46.

"The addition of Universidad Nacional Andres Bello and AIEP extends our reach beyond our current middle-market focus in Chile," the company said in a press release.

"Now we will serve the full range of student needs, from vocational training all the way to the most demanding and prestigious university education. With Sylvan now totally focused on global higher education, we will grow our enrollment by expanding existing campuses, building new campuses, developing new program offerings and introducing more sophisticated marketing."

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