Funeral consumers took another hit this week as Australia’s largest ASX listed funeral company made its latest acquisition of an local independent funeral home in Australia.

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In another blow to consumers concerned about the rising cost of funerals, InvoCare has announced a conditional purchase agreement to acquire Australian Heritage Funerals located in Toowoomba Queensland. It performs around 300 funerals each year and generates approximately $2 million in annual revenue. The business was established in 1998 by the McGrath-Colquhoun family and is managed by Judith McGrath-Colquhoun. As a fifth generation Darling Downs family, the team have a long, established history in the region.

InvoCare, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (IVC:ASX), is Australia’s largest provider of funeral, cemetery, crematoria and related services. It currently operates over 290 funeral locations and 16 cemeteries and crematoria, across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

InvoCare, owns well known funeral home brands such as White Lady Funerals, Guardian Funerals and Simplicity Funerals, and has control of more than 34% of the Australian funeral market. It also owns related services and products HeavenAddress; LifeArt coffins; Guardian Funeral Plans, MyGriefAssistMyMemorial and Funeral Planner.

Peter Erceg said, “This latest acquisition by InvoCare may be good news for shareholders, but not for consumers in the Toowoomba region and independent funeral homes”.

Despite several inquiries into the industry, government regulators in Australia have failed to tackle ongoing community concerns about the industry, including rising costs, misleading practices and a growing concentration of market share by two publicly listed companies (InvoCare and Propel Funeral Partners).

“Unless consumers and independent funeral directors can operate as a co-operative alliance, they will continue to hit with rising costs and a lack of choice. This is not in the interests of grieving families and family owned funeral homes”, he said.

 

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