History: Batesville Services traces its roots to 1884, when it was founded as the Batesville Coffin Co. in the small town of the same name. John A. Hillenbrand purchased the company in 1906 and renamed it Batesville Casket Co. It grew to become one of the largest producers of caskets, cremation products and memorial keepsakes in the nation and was an anchor of parent firm Hillenbrand Inc.
In the 2018 fiscal year, Hillenbrand garnered 69% of its $1.77 billion in revenue from the manufacture of processing equipment and 31% from caskets and related products. However, trends toward cremation were slowly shrinking sales for the latter group. In February, private equity firm LongRange Capital closed on its $761.5 million purchase of Batesville Casket Co., which was renamed Batesville Services. When the acquisition was announced, the firms said the casket company would continue to be based in Batesville, now a community of 6,700 people.
Production: Batesville Services produces a wide variety of products for burial and cremation, including customizable caskets, memorial keepsakes and urns. It employs 3,000 people, about 600 of whom work in Indiana.
Batesville produces more than 600,000 caskets each year and sells them exclusively to licensed funeral homes. The company operates four manufacturing plants, including a 500,000-square-foot facility in Batesville that produces premium copper, bronze and stainless-steel caskets. The plant in Manchester, Tennessee, also produces metal products. Plants in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Chihuahua, Mexico, focus on wood products.
Notable burials: The shiny gold Promethean casket model has often been spotted at celebrity burials, including for superstars Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and James Brown.
Interesting facts: The plant in Batesville completes approximately one casket every minute of a production shift. During World War II, the company refrained from using steel or wood and instead manufactured cloth-covered cardboard caskets in order to conserve valuable resources for the war effort.
Address: 1 Batesville Blvd., Batesville
—Compiled by Mason King