Texas Business Report: Making a Killing In the Funeral Industry

America's leading death-care provider, based in Houston, charges 42% more for its traditional funeral services; Torchy's taco is suing the Texas Taco Company; bags might not fly free at Southwest; and more.
Fri October 25, 2013 3:15 pm

As I Pay Dying
Businessweek’s latest cover story profiles Houston-based funeral services provider Service Corporation International and its rise to the top of the U.S. death-care industry. SCI — which operates funeral homes and cemeteries, oversees burials, and offers services ranging from embalming to cremation — is a publicly traded company with a market cap valued at about $4 billion. It could soon grow even more if the Federal Trade Commission approves its proposed $1.4 billion bid to acquire the second-largest player in the industry, Stewart Enterprises, early next year.

The article compares SCI’s position in the market to that of its smaller, family-owned competitors, finding that despite its streamlined operations, the company charges about 30 percent more for cremations and about 42 percent more for traditional funerals than its independent counterparts. Also, according to the magazine’s research, SCI owns 73 of the 100 most expensive funeral homes in the U.S.

The Bottom Line: The company’s earnings per share grew by 26 percent in the first half of this year, and its stock value has increased by nearly 40 percent. Its future could be even brighter: Thanks to pre-arranged contracts for future funeral arrangements, SCI anticipates “a backlog of future revenue of $7.5 billion,” or more than $9 billion if the Stewart acquisition goes through, Businessweek reports.

Hostile Taco-ver
The first shot in the Texas Taco War of 2013 has been fired. Austin-based Torchy’s Tacos is suing the Houston-area Texas Taco Company for offering menu items it claims are

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