Takeovers spur InvoCare growth

THE funeral provider InvoCare has lifted its full-year profit by 65 per cent and is confident growth will continue.

THE funeral provider InvoCare has lifted its full-year profit by 65 per cent and is confident growth will continue.

The largest private funeral, cemetery and crematorium operator in the Asia-Pacific region reported on Tuesday its net profit rose to $44.5 million in the year to December 31 from $27 million in 2011.

Revenue increased 14.8 per cent to $368.7 million.

The result included a full-year contribution of $69.3 million from the New Zealand market leader Bledisloe, which Invocare acquired in June 2011.

InvoCare also acquired the Geelong-based Tuckers Funerals and Bereavement Service last December, and the Auckland operator Resthaven Funerals earlier in February.

Excluding the acquisitions, comparable business sales were up 5.6 per cent at $298.9 million.

InvoCare said growth was driven by market share improvements, an increased number of deaths, annual price changes and higher funeral costs.

"Recent acquisitions provide further opportunities for InvoCare to grow," the chief executive, Andrew Smith, pictured, said.

The Bledisloe and Tuckers acquisitions helped increase InvoCare's share to an estimated 36.1 per cent of the markets it operates in.

Invocare is planning to open four new sites in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and New Zealand, and is confident of future acquisitions in Australia and abroad, including in regional areas where it is unrepresented.

A 1.5 per cent increase in the number of funeral services performed reflected a combination of market share growth and increased number of deaths over the year, the company said.

Last January, InvoCare invested $5 million in the HeavenAddress business, which it plans to expand into a global memorials website.

It said the site attracted approximately one-third of all funeral internet traffic in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Invocare declared a final fully-franked dividend of 19¢ a share, up from 16.25¢ in 2011.

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