Carriage Funeral Services Busting into Colorado Market

November 13, 2017
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Originally Published on Houston Business Journal

A Houston-based funeral home company is entering the Colorado market by acquiring two northern Colorado funeral homes.

Carriage Services Inc. (NYSE: CSV) said it’s acquiring Viegut Funeral Home in Loveland and Carroll-Lewellen Funeral & Cremation Services in Longmont.

“We have always wanted to enter Colorado but have been patiently waiting for the right partners in the right markets. With our two announcements today, we can now accelerate our success in this rapidly growing area,” Mel Payne, chairman and CEO of Carriage Services, said in a statement.

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Financial terms of the acquisitions weren’t disclosed.

Carriage Services said it “is a leading provider of deathcare services and merchandise in the United States. Carriage operates 174 funeral homes in 29 states and 32 cemeteries in 11 states.”

Carriage hinted at the Colorado expansion in its third-quarter earnings press release.

In the Oct. 25 release, Payne said the company signed four letters of intent in the third quarter and that those acquisitions were expected to close within 90 days. That’s in addition to three letters of intent Carriage disclosed in its second-quarter conference call.

Three of the four new LOIs were for businesses in “large new strategic markets for Carriage, including a new state, and all of these markets have other high quality acquisition candidates,” Payne continued. “The four businesses under letters of intent will collectively add over 3000 funerals to our portfolio and each has a strong competitive standing and market share growth opportunity in its respective market.”

The company reported record total revenue of $61.05 million for the third quarter, up about 1.5 percent year over year, and net income of $3 million, down 46.5 percent from a year earlier.

Payne called the third-quarter and year-to-date operating and financial results disappointing. He also noted that the third quarter was challenging due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“What we witnessed over the past few months was the remarkable and inspiring ‘can do spirit’ of the affected communities whose leadership at all levels including federal, state and local showed the country strength and resilience at its best under difficult circumstances,” Payne said in the release. “I want to especially express my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to all the employees in our home office support center and operating businesses that were affected, some of whom suffered personal devastation in their homes but all of whom demonstrated what Carriage’s ‘High Performance Culture’ is all about during the storms and historic floods by continuing to serve their client families and local communities.”

Carriage’s home office support teams and systems remained online throughout Harvey, Payne noted.

Also on Oct. 25, Carriage announced its board of directors approved an additional $15 million for share repurchases.

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