An in-depth analysis of the largest funeral home companies in the world

Largest funeral home companies in the world
Photo by Joel Filipe in Unsplash

This ranking of the largest funeral home companies in the world includes an analysis of the solid evolution of European companies such as Co-operative Group Limited, OGF, Grupo Albia, Funespaña or Ahorn AG; the rapid expansion of reference funeral homes in the United States, such as Matthews International or Carriage Services, and the complexity of the Asian funeral market led by Fu Shou Yuan, TEAR or Nirvana Asia Group. Let’s take a look at some of these groups.

Global death care industry outlook

The world’s main funeral home companies are experiencing a sustained growth and a general upward economic trend. Despite the strong impact suffered between the months of March and May 2020, most have managed to overcome the crisis caused by the Covid-19 and are preparing to face a still uncertain future.

It is precisely this solid and stable trajectory recorded over the last five years that is enabling many of them to continue growing thanks to initiatives such as the implementation of virtual funerals, strengthening of prepaid plans, creation of new facilities or the sale of assets to balance accounts, as in the case of the US firm StoneMor Partners.

The ranking of the 10 largest home companies in the world according to their turnover in the last year is as follows:

Ranking of the top 10 funeral home companies in the world
1. Service Corporation International
2. OGF
3. Matthews International
4. Invocare
5. Co-operative Group Limited
6. Dignity Plc
7. StoneMor Partners L.P.
8. Carriage Services
9. Fu Shou Yuan International
10. Nirvana Asia Group

Analysis of the largest funeral home companies

Death care industry analysis

1. Service Corporation International

Service Corporation International heads the ranking of the largest funeral home companies in the world. This North American giant, with headquarters in Texas, has more than 1,900 funeral homes distributed in 45 American states and 8 Canadian provinces, in which it operates under different brands such as Dignity Memorial, Advantage or Funeraria del Ángel, being the latter aimed at the Hispanic public. It also manages half a thousand cemeteries.

In 2019, the company had a turnover of 3,230 million dollars with a profit of 762 million and a gross margin of 23.5%, multiplying the figures of its immediate rival in the world ranking.

2. OGF

OGF is the French leader in the funeral industry with a turnover of 580 million euros between September 2019 and September 2020 and it is present throughout France through a network of agencies operating under different brands (PFG, Roblot, Henri de Borniol and other local Dignité Funéraire brands).

The company organises over 110,000 funerals per year through its 583 funeral homes, including 33 public service branches. It also has 80 crematoria in which 72,672 cremations take place each year. In addition, it has two cemeteries and two production plants that manufacture more than 130,000 coffins a year.

3. Matthews International

The small print shop founded by John Dixon Matthews in Pittsburgh 170 years ago is now a giant in the funeral market with 11,000 employees in over 250 locations worldwide. Its turnover in 2020 exceeded $670 million, with a gross profit of $154.3 million and a gross margin of 23.02%.

Matthews International is the largest supplier of copper and granite monuments in the United States. This is its most profitable segment and represents 75% of its annual profits. One of its most famous works is the famous Elvis Presley Memorial Bronze Statue. They are also involved in the development, design and construction of family mausoleums, glass front niches and gardens to house the ashes of the deceased. They are one of the leading companies in the manufacture of coffins of all types of materials, as well as commemorative jewellery and fully customised cremation urns. The company has the Matthews Environmental Solutions section, which specialises in technologically advanced cremation equipment, waste-to-energy conversion and emission control systems.

4. InvoCare

Most of the funeral homes in Australia are owned by a single company called InvoCare, which also operates in New Zealand and Singapore through its network of over 270 funeral homes and 16 cemeteries and crematoria. InvoCare employs around 1,800 people worldwide and had revenues of $500.35 million in the last year.

Among its brands, it offers a wide range of services adapted to all types of clients: from low-cost options to exclusive and personalized burials. It even has a company operated only by women, White Lady Funeral, easily recognizable by its uniforms and its fleet of white vehicles.

5. Co-operative Group Limited

The Co-operative Group Limited, better known as Co-op, is the UK’s largest consumer co-operative. It includes legal and funeral services, insurance, e-pharmacy and retail and wholesale food businesses.

Founded in 1844, the cooperative now has over 63,000 employees across the UK in more than 3,700 locations. Its turnover has maintained a slight but steady growth over the last five years. In 2020 it had a turnover of 293.5 million dollars, with a gross margin of 26.58% and a total amount of 104.6 million gross profit, which is distributed in the form of dividends among its more than 4.6 million active members.

Its funeral services include counselling to guide families who have just lost a loved one, including planning and organising the funeral, as well as financing it. They also offer prepaid plans from £3,300, plus a support service that includes advice on how to write a eulogy or how to choose the most appropriate clothing. With the advent of the Covid-19, they have included a virtual memorial service that allows you to attend a ceremony via streaming or watch the recording afterwards.

6. Dignity Plc

Dignity Plc is one of the leading providers of funeral services and prepaid plans in the UK market. This funeral home company has its headquarters in Sutton Coldfield and operates a network of approximately 720 funeral homes and 46 crematoria across the country. In the UK, Dignity PLC accounts for 12.3% of all funeral services and 9.8% of cremation services.

The company achieved revenues of $338.9 million and a profit of $177.2 million by 2019. The funeral division is its largest division and accounts for 70% of the total sales. It also highlights its pre-arranged funeral plan service, where Dignity Plc has a strong market presence with 523,000 active plans at the end of 2019.

7. StoneMor Partners L.P.

StoneMor is the second largest network of funeral homes and cemeteries in the United States. It has 313 cemeteries and 82 funeral homes in a total of 397 locations in 26 states and Puerto Rico. According to the company’s published balance sheet, the revenues for the third quarter of 2020 were $76.9 million ($3.7 million more than the same period last year) and the revenues for the last nine months were $218.8 million ($4 million less than the same period last year).

After several years of stagnant accounts, the company decided to face a period of reorganisation. Last November StoneMor Inc. announced its exit from the West Coast with an agreement to sell all the assets in Oregon and Washington and also completed the sale of its remaining locations in California. Joe Redling, the President and CEO of StoneMor, has stated that the strategic exit from the West Coast will serve to “improve management efficiency and profitability” because “with the closing of the California asset sale, the divestment program has delivered a total net income of more than $57 million, a considerable deleveraging” on the StoneMor’s balance sheet. He has also announced that the asset sale process will continue this year with other “individual transactions”.

8. Carriage Services

Carriage Services is one of the largest funeral home companies in the United States. It runs 183 funeral homes in 29 states and 29 cemeteries in 11 states. In addition to offering funeral services and the sale of caskets and urns, it also maintains trusts with funeral operators and cemeteries.

With a sustained and stable growth trend, in 2019 it obtained revenues of 274.1 million dollars with 79.59 million of gross profit. In spite of its stock market fall between March and May last year, Carriage Services’ economic recovery has been surprising and it even obtained record results in the third quarter of 2020, with an increase of 27.6% with regard to the previous quarter, according to figures reported by the company itself.

9. Fu Shou Yuan International Group

Fu Shou Yuan International Group, with headquarters in Shanghai (China), achieved revenues of $283 million in 2019, making it one of the largest funeral home companies worldwide. It is active in more than 30 cities in 18 provinces which are directly dependent on the Chinese central government. The group was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 19 December 2013 and is currently one of the top one hundred potential companies in China listed on the stock market, according to Forbes.

Fu Shou Yuan is the leading funeral home in Asia and operates through 3 business segments.

Fu Shou Yuan International has adopted the principles of Chinese tradition as its business philosophy, in the firm belief that the spiritual legacy of a deceased person is almost as important as his or her earthly life. For that reason, a burial represents the beginning of a legacy that extends one hundred years beyond death, it dwells in the hearts of the living and brings wealth to the community.

The company operates through 3 business segments. The Burial Services department is devoted to the sale of plots of land and the provision of cemetery maintenance services. The Funeral Services segment deals with the preparation and the burial, as well as with the organization and celebration of funerals. And the Ancillary Services segment is in charge of the provision of garden design services, as well as the production, sale and maintenance of cremation machines. Fu Shou Yuan International Group is also involved in investments and sales of agricultural products through its subsidiaries.

10. Nirvana Asia Group

With headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Nirvana Asia Group is one of Asia’s largest funeral home companies. It operates 14 cemeteries, 14 columbaria, two funeral homes and six crematoria, located mainly in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, with an emerging presence in Singapore, Vietnam and China. In 2019 they had a turnover of 198 million dollars with a gross profit of 50.7 million.

Through a network of 21 brands with more than 16,000 authorized agents, Nirvana strategically targets the premium segment of the funeral service market. Among its offerings is, for example, the Brahma Palace columbarium, which houses the ashes of the deceased in a luxurious setting with high ceilings, beautiful engravings and elegant murals. Nirvana also offers funerals for pets, which can rest in peace in Malaysia’s first official memorial pet garden.

11. San Holdings

San Holdings is one of the largest funeral home companies in Japan. Established as a holding company, it conducts more than 10,000 funerals per year, employs 315 funeral directors and has 71 funeral parlours. In its last fiscal year (March 2019 – March 2020) the company achieved total revenues of $205 million with a profit of $44 million and is currently expanding with the opening of several shops in the Tokyo Metropolitan area and the Kinki area.

The original company, Koeisha, was founded in 1932 in Kitahama, Osaka. Aware of the strength of the union, they began to expand through acquisition and association with other funeral companies during the Second World War. In 1994, they became one of the first funeral homes to be listed on the stock exchange and finally, in 2004, they became the current San Holdings with the transition to a holding company system.

In addition to traditional funeral services, the company offers a new embalming technique known as “emberming”. It involves sanitizing, sterilizing, restoring and applying makeup to the body to make it look as if it were alive, a treatment offered by only 23 other companies in Japan.

12. Mémora Group

Mémora is a reference company in the ranking of funeral homes in Spain. It has 1,250 professionals, 130 funeral companies, 129 mortuaries, 26 crematoria and 23 cemeteries. In addition, it owns 85% of Serveis Funeraris de Barcelona and also leads the funeral industry in Portugal, where the company has pioneered the construction of the first morgues and crematoria in Elvas, Figueira da Foz and Cascais.

This funeral home company has maintained an upward and regular growth over the last five years. In 2017 Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, the main shareholder of the French company OGF, acquired most of the shares in the funeral home, which closed 2019 with a turnover of 168.3 million dollars, a gross profit of 42.5 million and a gross margin of 25.28%. In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the Mémora Group launched the In Arboriam project, an action through which the company offers the opportunity to plant a physical tree for each service carried out during 2020 in homage to the deceased and completely free of charge. The aim is to create a large forest to pay homage to the deceased and their memory.

13. Albia Group

Albia Funeral Services was created in 1998 after the merger of several funeral homes with more than 25 years of experience in the funeral industry. It is currently one of the major reference companies in Spain with a turnover of 116.8 million dollars and a profit of 28.5 million dollars in 2019.

Albia is currently in the process of merging with Funespaña, an operation that will make it the largest funeral home in Spain and place it in the top 10 in the world ranking.

Albia manages 126 mortuaries, 280 funeral homes, 20 cemeteries and 36 crematoria in Spain. It has also expanded in Argentina with the establishment of a subsidiary called FunArg.

This company offers personalised burials, ecological options, advisory and financing services, as well as free consultants to solve queries about inheritances, pensions and even how to eliminate the deceased’s fingerprint. The Albia Group also has minority stakes in more than 20 national funeral operators, as well as in floral art and marble transformation companies.

14. Ahorn AG

Ahorn AG, with headquarters in Berlin, is the company that organises most of the funeral services in Germany. Established as a holding company, it operates with more than fifty brands and companies through 250 branches with more than 200 cooperation partners.

This funeral home company is a 100% subsidiary of the IDEAL Beteiligungen AG group, which is a life, property and accident insurance company. The annual accounts of Ahorn AG show a slow but steady economic growth over the last five years, with a closing figure of 116.5 million dollars in turnover and a gross profit of 29.3 million dollars in 2019.

15. TEAR

TEAR Corporation, whose headquarters are in Japan, bases its corporate strategy on offering a lower price than its main competitors (approximately 30% less than the industry average). The Covid-19 pandemic has led to customers opting for smaller funerals and reduced catering sales. Despite this, between September 2019 and September 2020, the company has achieved revenues of $115 million.

TEAR owns 36 venues where it operates, mainly located in Aichi Prefecture and the surrounding regions. It is also involved in holding ceremonies in private homes and directly run temples, as well as providing Buddhist memorial services for mourning and death anniversaries.

Most clients join a prepaid system called the TEAR Club. After paying an initial fee, the members receive funerary benefits, as well as discounts and services at partner companies. The TEAR Corporation also has a franchise section that provides Funeral Hall Tear businesses to various commercial companies in the industry nationwide.

16. Funespaña

Funespaña Group offers its funeral services in Spain through a network of 104 funeral homes, 157 mortuaries, 25 crematories, 24 cemeteries and 740 employees. It performs more than 64,000 funeral services annually and its main turnover comes from funeral services, which represent more than 43% of the total number of services performed. In recent years, Funespaña has also increased its cremation services, which represent 15% of its turnover.

In this context, Funespaña’s turnover grew by 0.90% in 2019, reaching 43 million euros, and the consolidated result reached 5.87 million euros, 2.87% higher than the previous year, according to the figures provided by the group itself in its last financial statement.

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