UK's largest funeral service company and crematoria operator

In February 2002 Montagu led the management buyout of Dignity Funeral Services from Houston based Service Corporation International ("SCI").

Dignity was the UK's largest funeral services company, conducting around 70,000 funerals per annum from a network of over 500 funeral homes and operating 21 crematoria.

Dignity was formed by the acquisition and subsequent merger of two quoted funeral care companies (Plantsbrook and Great Southern Group) by SCI in 1994.

Having made the decision to sell a majority stake in Dignity, SCI approached a number of financial institutions for proposals. Our proposal met the Vendor's twin objectives of a significant cash realisation and retention of an equity interest in Dignity. It also provided an equity incentive for management.

The strengths of our proposal, our relationship with management and our reputation for delivery gave SCI the confidence to award us exclusivity in January. We completed the transaction five weeks later.

In December 2002, due to the business' highly predictable cash flows we refinanced Dignity by way of a whole business securitisation which returned 97% of our investment.

In April 2004 Dignity returned to the London Stock Exchange via successful IPO valuing the business at £394 million.

Deal details

Deal type: Management Buyout Investment Year: 2002 Country: United Kingdom Status: Realised Value: £220 million Industry Sector: Consumer