Based on the aggregated intelligence of 180,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, funeral service products specialist Hillenbrand (NYS: HI) has earned a respected four-star ranking.
With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Hillenbrand's business and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.
Batesville, Ind. (2007)
CEO Kenneth Camp (since 2008)
CFO Cynthia Lucchese (since 2008)
Return on Equity (Average, Past 3 Years)
$198.3 million / $272.5 million
Stewart Enterprises (NAS: STEI)
Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's) and Motley Fool CAPS.
Earlier this week, robertshrestha listed several of Hillenbrand's positives: "Play on one of the few certainties of life, stable business model, solid margins and returns on capital, attractive dividend yield. A lot to like here."
In fact, Hillenbrand boasts a particularly robust three-year average operating margin of 21.5%. That's much higher than that of listed rival Stewart (12.4%), as well as surprising competitors like Costco (NAS: COST) (2.6%) and Wal-Mart (NYS: WMT) (5.9%).
CAPS member TarynOne elaborates on the bull case:
Hillenbrand is in an often overlooked area of the "diversified services" sector of the market. How on earth do you categorize a "death" stock besides categorizing it as a death stock? ... Hillenbrand largely dominates the casket market. However, Costco and even Walmart do pose a threat Hillenbrand, especially if we are returning to a sideways market. For the medium term., however, death rates will only rise and it would be unwise not to have your foot in at least one reliable company in the "death services" area.
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