Private Equity claims another death care provider



While most of us have been anticipating some news on the acquisition front from Australia and the proposed takeover of InvoCare by TPG Capital or waiting for some news on the North American proposal of Park Lawn Corporation to acquire Carriage Services, news came late last week that Great Britain’s large direct cremation provider, Pure Cremation, had agreed to a proposal to be acquired by British private equity firm Epiris.


Not a lot is known about the proposed deal other than what is in this article and that the transaction is scheduled to be closed by the end of the year.  The following is quoted from the article:


“Pure is a real innovator,” said Owen Wilson, partner at Epiris.

“It is built on a determination to offer a simple, respectful alternative to a traditional funeral and so operates to the very highest standards with great care taken at every stage of the process.

“The opportunity now for us is to take Pure to the next level in terms of scale and growth by bringing new experience and expertise into the business; we are excited to have partnered with Dean on this transaction and are looking forward to working with him and the Pure team to do just that.”

Dean Lamble, formerly CEO of SunLife Insurance, will join Pure as its group CEO and will work with the incumbent team led by chief operating officer (COO) Mark Seastron and chief financial officer (CFO) Rob Murphy.


Here is the Pure Cremation website.


The Pure Cremation story:  From our perspective at Funeral Director Daily, Pure Cremation may just be the most successful start-up in the history of death care.  Founded only eight years ago in 2015 by the husband and wife team of Bryan and Catherine Powell in Great Britain it seized on the growing confluence of direct cremation with no services and the preneed philosophy.  To their credit, the Powells recognized this confluence in Great Britain before anyone else and capitalized on it.


To that thought, here is what the proposed new CEO of Pure Cremation Dean Lamble, has to say about the confluence of direct cremation and preneed, “The direct cremation and pre-paid funeral market is undergoing a rapid transformation. Customers are favouring lower cost funeral options with their wishes clearly made known. Pure Cremation’s exceptional customer focus means it is well placed to win in this market.”


Being a private company not a lot is know of Pure Cremation’s financial performance, but some indication is shown in this January 2022 article from Sky News.


The article gives some history as to the company and intimates that its 2021 revenue was upwards of US$ 63 million with 2021 earnings of US$ 25.5 million.  They also relate that in 2021 alone, the company sold over 65,000 preneed policies and that it would not be inconceivable that the company could fetch over US $ 500 million for the founders if brought to market.


From a Personal Perspective:  Pure Cremation co-founder Bryan Powell is an avid and every day reader of Funeral Director Daily.  We have communicated via e-mail during the entire life-span of Funeral Director Daily and I can say he and his wife Catherine seem to be on the frontier of seeing where death care is going.  We share a common insight into the future of Death Care and it has been fascinating for me to watch how the Pure Cremation saga has played out.


Bryan has helped give me insight into the Great Britain death care markets as I have written articles for Funeral Director Daily and for that I am very thankful.  He was even so kind as to invite me to be his guest at this year’s European Cremation Consortium Conference in London.  My guess is that if this transaction closes, we have not heard the last from Bryan and Catherine Powell in the death care space.


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