Here’s a summary of the remarks of the Service Corporation International Executive Team during the company’s fourth quarter 2016 earnings call. You can access the entire transcript at Seeking Alpha.
CEO Thomas Ryan on the growth in the company’s preneed revenue:
“We also continue to grow our funeral preneed backlog, hosting a 4% growth in preneed funeral sales for the year as we utilize technology to remain more relevant to our employees, as well as our consumer audience.”
CEO Thomas Ryan on the company’s strong cemetery operations:
“our cemetery operations had exceptional growth during the quarter, as comparable cemetery revenue grew $36 million or nearly 12%. This growth was primarily driven by an increase in recognized preneed revenue of $28 million or 14%. While sales production growth was strong and accounted for just over $11 million of this increase, this performance was further bolstered by the completion of two large property construction projects in Vancouver Canada, which drove recognition of preneed sales that has occurred over the previous 12 months.”
CEO Thomas Ryan on the company’s accomplishments for 2016:
When you summarize the year 2016, we’ve been benefited from strong cemetery results including the perpetual care capital gain distributions, on lower interest expense, the result of refinancing some of our public bond, as well as increasing our variable rate exposure to approximately $1 billion.
CFO Eric Tanzinger said SCI will spend $255 million on capexp and acquisitions during 2017:
Our expectations for maintenance in cemetery development capital spending in 2017 is approximately $180 million. Now, this amount is slightly higher than our 2016 spend of $176 million as we continue making investments that add to our ability to create new and unique celebration of life experiences for our client families. And lastly, in addition to these recurring CapEx items, we expect to deploy $75 million to $100 million in acquisitions and other growth initiatives including new funeral home construction opportunities.
Funeral Director Daily’s Take:
SCI will continue to snap up funeral homes with 5 acqusitions closed during the first 6 weeks of 2017 and an acquisitions budget of $75-100 million for 2017. The firm must be finding plenty of attractive targets because CFO Tranzinger said in an aside that the firm looks for an 11-15% IRR (cashflow/cash invested) on capital expenditures and acquisitions. Not a bad hurdle rate for new funeral projects.