Matthews International First Quarter 2024 Earnings Call highlights

 

On February 1, 2024, Matthews International reported its 1st Quarter 2024 results.  We reported on that on February 5 with this article.  A day later they had an earnings call with investment advisors and today we bring you some quotes from that call.  You can access the entire transcript of the 1Q 2024 Earnings Call here.

 

Opening comments from Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Bartolacci:

Our memorialization business performed modestly better-than-expected in the quarter, reporting $208 million in sales, despite a decline in casket sales, which returned to normalized levels. The business benefited from the contribution of our recent acquisition Eagle Granite. As we look to the balance of the year, we are currently seeing higher-than-normal volumes for the past few weeks. So we are expecting this business to continue to perform well.

Our memorialization business continues to outperform pre-COVID operating results reflecting improvements that were made to the business over the last few years that have led to higher sales and higher performance overall. As a testament to these improvements, we continue to win new accounts on our memorialization section — segment, a reflection of the quality of our products and services. As I said before, we expect another solid year of results from memorialization.”

 

Opening comments from Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Steven Nicola:

“Memorialization sales were $208.1 million for the current quarter, compared with $206.5 million a year ago, primarily reflecting higher granite sales and the acquisition of Eagle Granite last fiscal year. . . . . .The increase primarily reflected higher Granite Memorial sales and the acquisition of Eagle Granite, partially offset by lower unit sales of caskets.”

 

“Memorialization adjusted EBITDA for the current quarter was $36.7 million, compared to $39.1 million for the same quarter last year. The decrease primarily resulted from the impact of the decline in casket sales, which was partially offset by the increase in Granite Memorial sales. The acquisition of Eagle Granite and improved net pricing changes. Material and labor costs were higher for the quarter, but were offset by the benefits of cost savings initiatives.”

 

 

CEO Joseph Bartolacci responding to a question on segments such as granite, caskets, memorials, and cremation equipment:

“I would tell you, as we look at the various businesses, as we said earlier that we’re back to a more normalized death rate throughout the industry. However, we are seeing really elevated levels of mortality right now. Our casketed sales for the month of January are strong. That is probably indicative of some of the pulmonary illnesses that are floating around in the country. So we expect that over the next 60 days, 90 days to be where our memorialization business will trend on the funeral home side. That as you know translates ultimately to more cemetery product sales. So as we kind of go through the year, we’re expecting some modest growth, maybe relatively flat the modest growth in the overall memorialization segment. But as I said earlier. . . recognize that this business is materially higher at that reset level then it was pre-COVID.”

 

CEO Joseph Bartolacci in answer to a question on “winning new accounts” in the Memorialization segment, specifically caskets and bronze and granite memorials:

“I would say that we are winning accounts across the portfolio. As we move forward, we would get some of the gains that we had throughout COVID on the funeral home side. We’ve retained and picked up others. We picked up cemetery products as well. So, yes, the answer to the question is, it is a broad mix of market share growth.”

 

CEO Joseph Bartolacci in answer to a question about cremation unit construction:

“Well, we’re looking at hopefully a good year in that business as well. We are in the midst of another contract opportunity in the U.K that we hope to win of significance. So as that starts to ramp up, we should be able to give you an update on that over the course of the next quarter. But we are respecting ( expecting ?) solid results out of cremation over the course of the year.”

 

Here is a Power Point presentation about Matthews International that accompanied the Earnings Call.

 

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