Finance

Technical difficulties, Seeking Alpha opinion on Service Corporation

Foundation Partners why I partnered

To our readers:  Before we get into our feature article of the day I want to apologize to readers who did not receive distributed copies of Funeral Director Daily last Wednesday and Thursday.  Unfortunately, we ran into issues where we simply outgrew our former distributor of Funeral Director Daily emails, Twitter, and Facebook postings.  The growth is good, however, we were not prepared for this happening and so I apologize to our readers for the problem.  There were three articles that were posted to our website during that time period but they were not sent out to our readership.  The articles are listed below and you can now read them.

Simply stated, with a little bit of tutoring, I’ve been self-taught at this blogging experience.  Most of the ancillary items needed for distribution of Funeral Director Daily came with our WordPress account.  Quite frankly, as I mentioned in the last paragraph, growth in readership, page views, and distribution, beyond what I had imagined for this blogger,  has caused us to outgrow the delivery system provided by WordPress and require a move to a commercial distribution provider at this time.  Funeral Director Daily will now be distributed by Mailchimp.  We certainly hope that this will solve our issues.

I’ve also hired a technical advising company to help guide us with future technology growth needs.  We will soon have better security features and Google Analytics to help us learn more about our readership and what kind of stories are interesting to them.  For instance, I can already tell you that 57% of our readers read Funeral Director Daily on a desktop computer. . . a sign that we are read at work by the majority of our audience.  41% of our readership reads us on a mobile device and only 2%, a sign that we don’t have many casual/at home, compared to business readers, view FDD on a tablet.

I can also tell you that 96% or our readership is from North America.  As I get more and more comfortable with Google Analytics we will also be able to post surveys and other items that will let us inform our readership what our readers are thinking on different topics.

The down side of this change for us is that we know that many of our readers may not be able to find us right away.  The last time we had an issue was when we started accepting sponsorships, and that process threw 19% of our distributed readership’s emails into spam.  That dive in readership took us almost two months to recover  from.  I would ask your help in this cause in that if you have friends or colleagues who read FDD give them a shout out with this post as they may be some of those where FDD is being lost in spam because of our move to Mailchimp.  We want them to know that we are still here.

My dad used to tell us when we were young that everybody has bad news or issues at some time.  He preached, “It is not those issues in themselves, but how you respond to them that defines your character.”  We expect to build our character from this issue.  Thank you for your continuing support of Funeral Director Daily.

Related--Our popular Afternoon Edition post will soon return.  At present we have been making sure that the bugs are out of our delivery system and things are working properly before we institute another daily delivery.  Please look for that plus a couple of new features that have been in the works for Funeral Director Daily to start soon.

SCI:  A solid play for the long haul – That is the headline of this recent Seeking Alpha article by author Daniel Jones which looks into death care consolidator Service Corporation International as a stock choice.  Jones seems to conclude that there are reasons to invest in the company at this time.  Here is what he says,  “Today, shares of the firm aren’t exactly cheap, but with a population that continues to age and a history of growing and robust cash flows, now might be a good time for investors to consider taking a stake in the company. . . .For those interested in a safe, stable firm with a bright future for the next few decades, this is a great play to consider. For those wanting to make a quick buck, or who are interested in a deep value prospect, it’s best to move on to other pastures.” 

To get to that opinion, Jones mentions a couple of items that he opines put Service Corporation in a good position.  Here are some of the quotes we took from the article:

“Although growth has not been the name of the game in recent years, investors should expect sales to pick up some in the years to come. . . . the population of older Americans continues to grow. “

“To prepare for the aging of America, management has placed a great deal of emphasis on the firm’s preneed services. As of the end of its 2019 fiscal year, backlog in its preneed business totaled around $12 billion. That’s nearly four years’ worth of sales that is essentially guaranteed to come to it over time.”

“. . .the real story for Service Corporation International is on the bottom side. . . . but the real measure for profitability that investors should focus on is operating cash flow. According to the most recent guidance provided by management, this figure should range between $600 million and $660 million this year for a mid-point of $630 million. Over the past five years, operating cash flow surged 33.2%, rising from $472.2 million in 2015 to $628.8 million last year”

Disclaimer:  The author of this article on Funeral Director Daily has a stock position in Service Corporation International.

Funeral Director Daily take:  I’m of the opinion that local funeral directors who own their own businesses can always learn something from staying abreast of the public companies like Service Corporation International.  Because they are required to put out their financials, you can extrapolate different things from them that may be applicable to your own situation.

For instance, when I sold the majority of my business, consultants in the industry told me that my pre-arrangements were way ahead of the industry average. . . and I had about 3 1/2 times my annual revenue in preneed accounts.  According to this Seeking Alpha piece, SCI has 4 times their annual revenue in preneed accounts. . . that tells me that they are gaining market share in the overall picture.

More news from the world of Death Care:

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