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InvoCare lifts full year profit 65%

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AAP

2013-02-19

Funeral provider InvoCare has lifted its full year profit by 65 per cent and is confident growth will continue.

The largest private funeral, cemetery and crematorium operator in the Asia Pacific region on Tuesday reported its net profit rose to $44.5 million in the year to December 31 from $27 million in 2011.

Sales revenue rose 14.8 per cent to $368.7 million.

The result included a full year contribution of $69.3 million from New Zealand market leader Bledisloe, which Invocare acquired in June 2011.

InvoCare also acquired Geelong-based Tuckers Funerals and Bereavement Services in December 2012, and Auckland operator Resthaven Funerals earlier in February.

Excluding the acquisitions, comparable business sales were up 5.6 per cent to $298.9 million.

InvoCare said the growth was driven by market share improvements, an increased number of deaths, annual price changes and higher funeral costs.

"Recent acquisitions provide further opportunities for InvoCare to grow," chief executive Andrew Smith said in a statement.

The Bledisloe and Tuckers acquisitions had helped grow InvoCare's market share to an estimated 36.1 per cent of the markets in which it operates.

Invocare is planning to open four new sites in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and New Zealand, and was confident of future acquisitions in Australia and abroad, including in regional areas where it is unrepresented.

A 1.5 per cent increase in the number of funeral services performed reflected a combination of market share growth and increased number of deaths over the year, the company said.

Last January, InvoCare invested $5 million in the HeavenAddress business, which the company plans to expand into a global memorials website.

InvoCare said the site attracts approximately one third of all funeral internet traffic in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

"This is a great opportunity to expose InvoCare brands as well as developing online funeral and memorial communities where families, friends and communities can share experiences," InvoCare said in a statement.

Invocare declared a final fully-franked dividend of 19.0 cents per share, up from 16.25 cents in 2011.