Corrected Batesville Casket Story

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 23, 2016

Casket Co. officials have no comment on rumored layoffs

By John Howell

(Editor’s note: The original version of this story posted and published in the Friday, May 20 edition, incorrectly attributed the information in the last paragraph to Hillenbrand Industries CEO Kenneth Camp. It should have been attributed to Dan Isard, president of Foresight Cos., a consultant to funeral homes and cemeteries.
The same 2009 article in the Cincinnati Business Journal also cited a statement by Batesville Casket president Joe Raver that his company has no plans to start manufacturing in China.)

Batesville Casket Company does not comment on rumors or speculation, a company spokesperson said Thursday referring to statements by Panola plant workers who say they fear from 100 to 150 layoffs.
“It is our corporate policy not to comment,” Batesville Casket Company Director of Strategic Communications Teresa Gyulafla said.
Local government and economic development officials have long been concerned that the jobs would be lost to Mexico when workers at Batesville Casket Company’s plant in Chihuahua gained sufficient expertise to produce the quality of wooden caskets manufactured at the Panola plant.
A worker in the Panola plant said that small groups of workers from the plant in Mexico have periodically been brought here for training sessions.
Hillenbrand Industries has faced flat growth from its Batesville Casket Company subsidiary as cremation has gained increasing acceptance, according to a December, 2012 report in USA Today.
The company diversified over a five-year period with purchases totaling $1.2 million of manufacturers of processing equipment.
In a 2009 interview, Foresight Cos. president Dan Isard, a consultant to funeral homes and cemeteries, told the Cincinnati Business Journal that industry projections were that by 2025 fifty percent of deaths will result in cremations and that 75 percent of caskets will be made in China “or countries with lower labor costs.”

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