Hillenbrand profits rise despite revenue declines

Hillenbrand Inc. on Tuesday morning reported higher fourth quarter and full-year profits than a year ago, despite lower revenue in both time periods.

The Batesville-based maker of funeral-services products posted a profit of $22.6 million in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, a 17.7-percent increase over the same quarter of 2008. Earnings per share rose 19.4 percent, from 31 cents to 37 cents.

Hillenbrand’s fourth quarter revenue dropped 3.6 percent, to $153.1 million.

For the fiscal year, Hillenbrand earned $102.3 million, an increase of 9.8 percent over fiscal 2008. Earnings per share rose 11.4 percent, from $1.49 to $1.66. Revenue was $649.1 million, a decrease of 4.3 percent.

Improved investment returns and lower costs on diesel fuel and raw materials used in Hillenbrand’s products helped improve company earnings despite the decreases in revenue.

Hillenbrand also said it expects 2010 revenue to be from 3 percent below to 3.1 percent above 2009 revenue, ranging from $630 million to $670 million. Earnings per diluted share will range from $1.40 to $1.67, it said, with profit projected to be between $86 million and $103 million.

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