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Hillenbrand paying $530M for German company

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The Batesville-based conglomerate best known for making caskets is making its biggest move yet to diversify away from the funeral care business.

Hillenbrand Inc. has agreed to pay the equivalent of $530 million to acquire privately held Coperion Capital GmbH, which makes materials-handling equipment and is based in Stuttgart, Germany.

The deal, expected to close in December or January, would immediately add to Hillenbrand's earnings per share, the company said. Coperion would keep its German home base and join Hillenbrand's Process Equipment Group, boosting the division's annual revenue to more than $1 billion, two-thirds of Hillenbrand's total.

"Their strategy is to use the cash flow from the casket business to diversify and grow into other niche industrial businesses with a higher growth profile," CJS Securities analyst Daniel Moore told Reuters.

Coperion builds equipment used in a broad range of industries, including plastics, chemical, food processing, pharmaceutical and aluminum.

“The acquisition of Coperion represents a very significant move forward for our company,” Hillenbrand CEO Kenneth A. Camp said in a prepared statement. “Coperion is a highly respected company which is led by an exceptionally talented management team with extensive global experience.”

Hillenbrand is buying the company from private equity firm Deutsche Beteiligungs AG.

The acquisition will be the second major for one Hillenbrand in just over a year. The company acquired Rotex Global LLC for $240 million last September.

Hillenbrand shares rose 3 percent, or 56 cents, Tuesday morning, to $19.20 each.

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  • JC Penney deja vue
    Sounds like when JC Penney got into the drug store business and purchased Eckardts. Did they ever recover from that? Hope this is different.

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