Batesville notes from Hillenbrand Industries Quarterly Report

Last week Hillenbrand Industries reported their Fiscal Year 4th Quarter of 2022 and their Year End results for Fiscal Year 2022.  It is noted that Hillenbrand operates on an annual fiscal year calendar from October 1 to September 30.

Over the years Hillenbrand has moved from a company predominantly based in the death care business via their operation of Batesville to a more well-defined manufacturing industry conglomerate with Batesville as a minority representative of sales and profits.  For instance, 4Q22 for Hillenbrand (July, August, and September) consisted of total revenues of $750 million. . . of which Batesville accounted for $146 million of that total — or less than 20% of the total.

And when it comes to Adjusted EBITDA (not counting Corporate Expenses) contributing to the bottom line, the percentage of Batesville’s contribution is even less. . . $24.2 million of $152.2 million in system Adjusted EBITDA — only about 16% of the total.

It’s no surprise when you see those numbers that earlier this year we brought you this article explaining that Hillenbrand Industries was “exploring strategic alternatives for its Batesville business”.

In a question from the recent Earnings Call, which you can access here, Hillenbrand CEO Kim Ryan was asked about the “strategic process for Batesville”.  Here was her answer:

Kim Ryan:  “I would – I would say that we are – we continue to work this process. We are confident that we will arrive at a final outcome that will be the best result for associates, customers, shareholders. I would say, even though there is a challenging market in front of us, I think we’ve had a great partner involved in this and we’ve been able to really be – had a very fulsome look at the opportunities out in the marketplace and be able to make sure that all interested parties have an opportunity to evaluate this great asset that we are exploring the strategic alternatives for. And we’ll continue to provide updates as those become available.”

As for Batesville’s performance. . . . .Batesville’s 4Q22 revenue of $146 million was a 6% decline in revenue over the same period of one year ago.  Here is how the number was explained in this press release from Hillenbrand Industries, “Revenue . . . .decreased 6% year over year due to lower burial casket volume resulting from an estimated decrease in deaths associated with the declining effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and an estimated increase in the rate at which families opted for cremation. This decrease was partially offset by price surcharges implemented earlier in the year to offset the significant increase in commodity costs.” 

Funeral Director Daily take:  From my point of view, once a company makes known that it is looking at “Strategic Alternatives” for a part of it, it is hard to simply focus on the operations of that part.  People, including both customers and employees, begin to look at what the future holds for them.

Batesville is fortunate in that regard in that it is the company with the largest market share for casket sales in North America.  And, while casket unit sales are dropping by percentage in the death care industry, the onset of a higher number of deaths coming in the Baby Boomer population segment may make Batesville an attractive target for somebody.

More news from the world of Death Care:

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