Lohman Funeral Homes Selling all 14 Locations to StoneMor Partners
DAYTONA BEACH — The owners of Lohman Funeral Homes, which operates 14 locations in Volusia and Flagler counties, have agreed to sell the business to a national company.
The buyer is StoneMor Partners L.P., a Levittown, Pa.-based company whose stock is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
As the operator of 275 cemeteries and 69 funeral homes in 26 states, as well as in Puerto Rico, StoneMor describes itself on its website as one of the nation’s largest companies in the “death care industry.”
Lowell Lohman, president and chief executive officer for Lohman Funeral Homes, and his wife Nancy, the company’s chief operating officer, confirmed on Wednesday that they and the company’s other partners — the couple’s son Ty and Lowell’s brother Victor — signed a letter of intent to sell the company to StoneMor two weeks ago. The couple declined to disclose the sale price.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Lohman family would continue to manage their company’s locations in Volusia and Flagler counties, and also take over the operation of a funeral home in Lake Placid — which to date is StoneMor’s only location in Florida.
The 14 locations in the Volusia-Flagler area also would continue to operate under the Lohman Funeral Homes name.
Lohman Funeral Homes, founded in 1997, is the largest family-owned operator of funeral homes and cemeteries in Florida and employs 121 people. The Lohmans informed their employees of the pending sale last Friday.
Lowell and Nancy Lohman on Wednesday emphasized that there is no guarantee that the sale will go through, but said they expect it to close within the next six weeks.
Lohman employees would immediately benefit from the change in owners both in the form of increased health care benefits and “more opportunities for advancement,” Nancy Lohman said.
Lowell Lohman added, “It’s a great deal for our employees. That’s one of the reasons we’re doing it.”
Lowell Lohman, 67, would become a consultant to StoneMor, while Nancy, Ty and Victor would essentially continue their current roles.
Nancy, 52, oversees the company’s funeral home business. Ty, 41, manages the “pre-need” business. Victor, 60, runs the cemetery operations.
Nancy Lohman said the family recognized it needed to have a succession plan in place for the business and earlier this year began to seriously consider selling to a national company — but with an important catch.
“We wanted to be able to stay on and remain day in, day out operator/managers of our locations,” she said.
She and Lowell said they had been getting inquiries from national companies for several years, but that interest from national companies intensified at the annual convention for the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association in Las Vegas this past March.
The headquarters for Lohman Funeral Homes in Ormond Beach would become the new regional headquarters for StoneMor under the pending deal, the Lohmans said.
Acquiring Lohman Funeral Homes would give StoneMor a significant presence in Florida that it presently lacks. A statement given to The News-Journal by the Lohman family describes StoneMor as the nation’s third-largest cemetery and funeral home company.
The publicly traded company has been on a growth tear as of late, having acquired 17 cemeteries and 12 funeral homes last year, according to an earnings report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
StoneMor in April paid $900,000 to acquire a cemetery in Illinois — its only acquisition so far in 2012. The company generated more than $228 million in revenues last year, according to its 2011 full-year and fourth quarter earnings report.
Lohman Funeral Homes also has been growing. In the past two years, it has added four locations — including three acquisitions. In December, it opened its newest location, a newly built funeral home in Deltona.
StoneMor officials did not return a phone call from The News-Journal seeking comment Wednesday.
Deb Gilmore, president-elect for the Florida Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association, said the Lohman family has been “very supportive of the industry and the association. They’re good members.”
Regarding the company’s pending sale to StoneMor, which would allow the Lohman family to retain control of the company’s local operations, Gilmore said “that’s not uncommon at all” in the funeral home/cemetery industry.
Ty Lohman is currently a board member for the FCCFA and is set to become the state association’s president two years from now.
Nancy Lohman is set to become president of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association next year.
Nancy and Lowell Lohman said being able to retain the Lohman Funeral Home name was important, not only to their family, but also as a sign of assurance to their employees and customers that “nothing will change” under the new owners.
Said Lowell: “If your name is on the side of the building, you’re going to make sure it’s run right.”
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