$53.8M in acquisitions for cemetery-owner StoneMor Partners

StoneMor Partners acquired 13 cemeteries owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in 2013. (Barbara L. Johnston/Inquirer)

StoneMor Partners L.P., a Levittown owner of cemeteries and funeral homes, said it had signed definitive agreements to buy nine funeral homes, 12 cemeteries and two crematories from Service Corp. International for $53.8 million in cash.

The sale includes three cemeteries in the Philadelphia area: George Washington Memorial Park in Plymouth Meeting, Sunset Memorial Park in Feasterville, and Hillside Cemetery in Roslyn.
Also included in the deal locally are two Kirk & Nice funeral facilities at George Washington and Sunset.

Other properties are in central Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, StoneMor said. Overall, the cemeteries cover 1,140 acres and include 76,000 burial plots that are ready to be sold.

Service Corp., which is based in Houston and is known as SCI, is selling the properties, among others, to comply with a Federal Trade Commission review of its December purchase of rival Stewart Enterprises Inc. for $1.38 billion.

StoneMor said its purchase of the Services Corp. operations might also be subject to Federal Trade Commission scrutiny in some cases.

StoneMor has also agreed to lease 13 cemeteries from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for an initial payment of $53 million, with an additional $36 million spread over the sixth through 35th years of the 60-year lease.

That deal, which is crucial to the economic recovery of the archdiocese has not yet closed.

David Lambie, a funeral director at Lambie Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia and president of Philadelphia Funeral Directors Association, said the StoneMor deal with SCI is not as disconcerting as the deal with the archdiocese because the SCI properties were already owned by a corporate giant.

“It does give [StoneMor] a turnkey operation,” which means on day one they can start running funerals, Lambie said.