Commerce Commission again delays decision on Christchurch crematorium

Andrew Smith, InvoCare Chief Executive Officer
InvoCare 12-month price history (ASX.com)

The Commerce Commission has again delayed its final decision on Australia's largest undertakers buying Chritchurch's 70-year-old Cremation Society of Canterbury to add two crematoriums to its New Zealand network.

The decision was due today but has been pushed out for a third time to Friday July 4. The antitrust regulator is mulling the application of Bledisloe New Zealand, the local funeral services arm of Australia's InvoCare [ASX: IVC], to buy the society that owns Harewood Memorial Gardens & Crematorium and Woodlawn Memorial Gardens and Crematorium in Christchurch.

Bledisloe already owns three Christchurch funeral parlours and a headstone maker although it has no capacity to cremate bodies in the city.

InvoCare set up its New Zealand subsidiary in 2007 and bought Bledisloe in 2010 for an enterprise value of A$114 million. The group has been expanding its New Zealand holdings, acquiring four funeral parlours last year, bringing its total to 29 businesses across the country.

In 2013 New Zealand sales were A$32 million with a 19 percent margin although the company estimated a 1.9 percent decline in deaths during 2013, according to InvoCare's annual report.

(BusinessDesk)

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