Category Archives: Bastards

Shark eats shark as LM Funerals are gobbled up for £37.5 million

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

 

 

Posted by Charles

 

Marvellous news from last Wednesday’s Telegraph: 

The Duke Street consortium, which includes Babson Capital Europe and Metric Capital Partners, has acquired LM Funerals from Sovereign Capital, a buy-out firm focused on investing in small companies.

LM Funerals is the third largest funeral company in Britain, with more than 60 branches – mainly in the Midlands and the south-east of England.

Sovereign bought LM Funerals in 2003 and used the company as a platform to consolidate what is a highly fragmented sector. Under Sovereign’s ownership, the company grew from 29 sites to 65 through a series of nine acquisitions and several new branch openings.

You’ll like this next bit:

Often the acquired businesses continued to trade under their original names after the deals were completed. This was done to ensure the “preservation of trusted local reputations and relationships that have been built over a sustained period”. [Source]

QUERY: If consolidation of a highly fragmented sector is a Good Thing, why the reticence about ownership?

FOLLOWUP QUERY: No mention of the benefits for consumers? (Oh, them.) 

FACT: Sovereign Capital paid £11m for LM in 2003. They’ve sold for £37.5m. The deal therefore represents a 3.4 x return. 

FACT: The name of the managing partner of Metric Capital Partners is John Synic. Really. 

THE GFG SAYS: Take the money and run, boys. Trebles all round!!

 

Hat-tip to Andrew Plume. 

Downer of the day

Friday, 16 March 2012


According to Co-operative Funeralcare, which takes care of a quarter of all UK funerals, sales of its Gold plan rose by 34% last year, while those of personalised, tailor made plans rose by 16%.

More here

 

Hurrah for Dignity!

Friday, 9 March 2012

 

Announcement by the Press Association:

The UK’s largest provider of funeral-related services has reported higher profits after its strongest year for the number of families planning ahead for a death.

Dignity, which has 600 funeral locations including 35 crematoria, said the number of pre-arranged funeral plans on its books and yet to take place increased to 265,000 in 2011, from 238,000 the previous year.

The group, which last year held 62,300 funerals, allows customers to plan a funeral in advance and make provisions towards the cost through its Dignity Guaranteed Funeral Plan.

Dignity said underlying pre-tax profits increased by 3% to £41.6 million in the year to December 30, as it increased its location portfolio by 33 in the year.

Sebastien Jantet, analyst at broker Investec, said Dignity had delivered “yet another set of strong results”. He added: “The highlights were a strong performance from the pre-arranged funerals division.”

The Sutton Coldfield-based group said its funeral services division, which brings in the largest proportion of profits, had received investment of around £9.5 million, with roughly half of this funding the replacement of its hearses and limousines.

The group’s crematoria division saw operating profits increase 7% to £21.3 million as it conducted 47,600 cremations, compared with 45,200 the previous year.

The group completed the construction of two crematoria in Somerset and Worcestershire in the period, while work continues on a new crematorium in Essex. The group is also the preferred bidder to operate Haringey Council’s crematorium in north London.

Looking ahead, Mike McCollum, Dignity chief executive, said: “While 2012 has started more quietly than 2011, the board remains confident in the group’s prospects and its expectations for 2012 remain positive and unchanged.”

Here at the GFG-Batesville Tower we celebrated this marvellous news by announcing a half day holiday (unpaid, of course) and shooting an intern. 

Die to let

Thursday, 23 February 2012

 

In Dorset a woman has been billed for £3,000 because her father negligently failed to give his care home 28 days’ notice of his own death. Full story in the Daily Mail here

Click on the letter to make it bigger. 

No opportunity wasted

Friday, 17 February 2012

Posted by Vale

 

Someone dies and another sees an opportunity: death is an opening in more ways than one. Now, it seems, the cyber criminals have got in on the act. When Whitney Houston was discovered in her bath at the weekend all the nodes and synapses of the internet flickered into life and, as the Malware Blog reports, Cybercriminals were quick to take advantage. The site found a fake video spreading on Facebook:

Wall posts with the subject “I Cried watching this video. RIP Whitney Houston” come with link to the supposed video. Clicking it leads them to a Facebook page that contains a link to the video. However, clicking this link only leads to several redirections until users are lead to the usual survey scam site.

Apparently the same trick was tried when Amy Winehouse died. I can’t for the life of me make out the commercial benefit, but there must be some. Don’t you hate this way that death can generate this sort of conscience-less entrepreneurialism? No, wait a minute…

Fill in the blank

Friday, 3 February 2012

 

 

Friday is competition day here at the GFG, and we’re giving a cigar to the first person correctly to fill in the blank. The story is recent, and comes from a regional newspaper.We”ll give you the rest of the story as soon as we have a winner. 

 

A GRIEVING family struggling to raise burial fees say they were advised by a funeral director: “Pool your resources and stick it on your credit card.”

Lillian Wilson, 88, died on January 13 and grandson, Andrzey said the family were not dealt with compassionately by funeral directors Moisters.

Andrzey said they used the firm as they had organised his father Ian’s funeral four years ago in a “sympathetic and professional manner.” But this time, he said the family were subjected to “aggressive pressure sales” at a time when they felt “vulnerable.”

Since Ian Wilson’s funeral, the family firm has been taken over by _____________________. 

Southport MP John Pugh said families must be kept informed when undertakers change hands.

He said: “The Co-op have a good reputation for funeral care but that being said, people should always be made clear who they are dealing with.

“At a time of crisis, families who have used the same undertakers over generations need to be told when things have changed.”

A spokesman from the funeral directors apologised to the family, added they pride themselves on “providing customer service of the highest possible quality.”

Andrzey said the family were “pressed from the outset” about fees.“There was no compassion for a grieving family,” he said.

“We were talking about how to pay the fees and the gentleman said to us; ‘why don’t you pool your resources and stick it on a credit card.’“

Andrzey, 29, who lives in Droitwich Spa in the Midlands said the family “sat around in shock” at the way they were treated.

As well as up front fees of £1,000, they must pay a “non-resident fee” because they don’t live locally.

But they were later told by another director that they did not need to pay as Mrs Wilson lived in Southport.

The spokesman from Moisters said: “A funeral director briefly discussed the funeral with a family member and the fees imposed by Sefton Council.

“These are £547 for re-opening a grave for a resident or £1,003 for a non-resident. We explained that we would have to take advice as to which fee applied because the owner of the plot (grandson Andrzey) lived out of the area.

“During the meeting we explained the requirement for a deposit payment to cover the cost of the council burial fees and other third party costs.

“If this could be met from the estate then we would not require the deposit but could directly invoice the bank or solicitor handling probate.”

The spokesman said the funeral director offered to meet the family again, but that they made alternative arrangements.

He added: “We pride ourselves on providing customer service of the highest quality and apologise if the family felt that they had not been treated in this manner.”

 

Find the story here