HSBC PE front runners to buy funeral business

The private equity group is said to be offering around £200m for the UK operation of Service Corporation International.

Reports over the weekend suggest that HSBC Private Equity is the most likely buyer of the UK operations of Service Corporation International, the Texas head-quartered funeral service provider.

Although the largest supplier of funeral related services in the world, SCI has been struggling to reduce its $750m of debt and has therefore been looking to sell majority stakes in parts of its business around the globe. It recently sold an 80 per cent stake in its Australian business.

The UK operation, which manages 75,000 funerals a year and has profits of £25m on turnover of £130m, is set to be subject to an MBO led by Managing Director Peter Hindley. Hindley is reported to have been discussing such a deal with various private equity firms for nearly a year.