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Laureate Education, the large global college network that returned to publicly traded status this year, has largely concluded its shift toward emerging or large markets, Eilif-Serck Hanssen, the company's CEO, said in an interview.

In the last year, the Baltimore-based Laureate sold its colleges in China, Germany, Italy and Malaysia, among others. The company made those moves to leave "markets were we didn't have scale or potential to get to scale," Hanssen said.

With a total enrollment of more than one million students at 60 institutions in 20 countries, Laureate is focused on the U.S., Spain, Portugal and South and Central America.

Last month the company announced a $400 million deal to sell the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, a domestic institution, to the investment firm Altas Partners. Hanssen praised St. Augustine but said its U.S. focus impeded Laureate's ability to coordinate the university's offerings with the global network of institutions.

Laureate has been seeking to offload some of its long-term debt, which was down to about $2.9 billion from $3.2 billion last year. The for-profit college network also reported stronger quarterly numbers, with an 8 percent increase in new enrollments and a 3 percent -- or roughly $30 million -- increase in revenue.