OVERLAND PARK, KS – Wilbert Funeral Services, Inc. (“WFSI”) is pleased to announce the signing of a letter of intent to acquire certain assets of Astral Industries, Inc. and related Astral companies (“Astral”), based in Lynn, Indiana. The contemplated transaction would also include certain assets of Astral Carrier Inc. and other associated assets.
Astral manufactures a wide range of steel caskets with 46 years of experience servicing the North American funeral industry. Astral is a leading provider to independent casket distributors and funeral homes through Regional Service Centers across the United States. Astral Carrier is a 48-state contract carrier with a fleet of air-ride tractors and trailers in place to ensure that caskets and other products are delivered in excellent condition.
This transaction would support WFSI’s continued strategy to grow its business through complementary product and service offerings that benefit funeral professionals and the families they serve. WFSI and Astral share similar business values with a driving focus on the needs of funeral professionals. This commitment toward solutions for the challenges faced by their customers would continue to be the compass for the combined enterprises.
“Astral has a proud heritage dating back to 1972,” said Charlie Shaw, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Astral. “Both Astral and Wilbert have earned a reputation for value and service. This transaction would result in a great blending of two iconic brands.”
Dave Hazelett, President of Astral, added, “Astral has been a leader in providing quality product to the funeral industry. We are excited about the possibilities this combination would create.”
As the leading provider of burial vaults and cremation-related products, WFSI would strengthen its offerings to the funeral industry through the contemplated transaction.
“Merging the operations of Wilbert and Astral would create a diverse yet synergistic family of products,” stated Joseph Suhor, Chairman of the Board of WFSI. “The quality of Astral caskets is second-to-none and we are impressed with the dedication of Astral’s employees. These are the same things we point to when describing Wilbert.”
Astral would retain its manufacturing platform in Lynn along with the other related companies and day-to-day operations would be maintained by a combination of existing management from Astral and WFSI. “As the companies come together, we will finalize an overall strategic direction that would bring enhanced value and a wide array of products to funeral professionals,” said Dennis Welzenbach, President & CEO of WFSI.
Pending completion of due diligence and execution of a definitive and binding agreement outlining the terms and conditions of the acquisition, WFSI and Astral would operate separately while working together for a smooth transition that will retain product quality and exemplary service to their customers.
For more information, call (708) 865-1600.