The Invocare Ltd (ASX:IVC) share price has fallen 39 cents or 3.3 per cent to $11.56 after the funeral operator said a mild winter and benign flu season negatively impacted funeral case volume.
Last month Invocare reported first half funeral volume had been soft, with this trend continuing, reflecting the very mild winter and effective flu vaccine campaigns undertaken in Australia and New Zealand.
Confirming the industry wide impact, Invocare said the relevant state authorities have provided monthly data showing that the number of deaths in the Australian market has declined by 5.9 per cent in the June to August period over the previous comparative period.
Invocare estimates that deaths during September have declined to an even greater extent.
Martin Earp, Chief Executive Officer of InvoCare, said, “Trading during the winter period has seen the number of deaths decline in the order of up to 8 per cent in key markets. This variation is very unusual and, despite improving market share, there will be an impact on our full year results.”
Invocare estimated impact of these unusual, industry wide conditions on the company’s operating results is that every 1 per cent decline in number of deaths equates to circa $3 million of funeral revenue on an annualised basis.
InvoCare, headquartered in Sydney, is the largest provider of funeral services in Australia, New Zealand and in Singapore. It is also the largest operator of private cemeteries and crematoria in Australia.
Invocare shares have fallen close to 30 per cent in the past 12 months.