Funeral Homes in Flux in Central Arkansas

by Arkansas Business staff  on Monday, Mar. 17, 2003 12:00 am  

Word's bounced around for weeks that Roller Family Funeral Homes of Little Rock and Houston-based Service Corp. International, the world's biggest funeral home and cemetery company, were huddling over a potential deal.

Was the multi-national, $2.2-billion revenue company, which has had a stock price plunge and recently initiated a sell-off of some funeral homes, really be looking to add to the 10 properties it already owns in Arkansas?

Industry insiders say yes, but Roller says no.

"There is absolutely no fact to the rumors whatsoever. SCI isn't buying anything — they're in deep financial trouble," said Roller President Bill Booker.

If anything, it's Roller that could expand, Booker said. He stopped short of denying that Roller and SCI had been in contact.

An SCI official at the Houston headquarters "wasn't at liberty" to discuss acquisitions or sales, but confirmed that a North Little Rock funeral home — presumably Huson, since that's the one SCI owns in North Little Rock — was being shopped around to rent out.

Roller handles about 3,000 services annual through 27 funeral homes and nine cemeteries in Arkansas and a Memphis funeral home.

SCI operates about 3,000 funeral service locations, 475 cemeteries and 177 crematoria in 11 countries. SCI posted nearly $2.3 billion in revenue for 2002, according to U.S. Security and Exchange Commission filings, but still lost $231.9 million on the year.



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