Cremation company founders in management buy-out following £18m funding from Santander UK

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The founders of Andover-based Pure Cremation have undertaken a management buy-out following an £18m term loan from Santander UK.

Santander UK’s funding has enabled Pure Cremation’s management team, including company founders Bryan and Catherine Powell, to increase their collective ownership to 100%, buying out equity partner, Puma Investments, and a number of small, legacy shareholders.

Funding from Puma Investments in 2017 helped finance a new crematorium facility, Charlton Park Crematorium in Andover, which has been successfully up and running since 2019.

Pure Cremation specialises in ‘direct’ cremation – comprising a cremation without a funeral service, and usually without mourners present – as an affordable alternative to traditional funerals. It is the only company in the UK to provide a direct cremation service nationwide, including in Northern Ireland. Pure Cremation operates its own state-of-the-art venue, Charlton Park Crematorium, which is also used for traditional services booked through local funeral directors.

Cremations have significantly increased in popularity over past decades in the UK and have grown from representing 35% of funerals in 1960 to 78% in 2019. Direct cremations are increasing in popularity in the UK, accounting for 3% of all funerals in 2019 and 14% in 2020.

Pure Cremation offers pre-planned cremations for people who want to plan and pay for their cremation in advance. The company offers both trust-based and insurance-based plans, as well as direct cremation funerals once someone has already died. In 2020, Pure Cremation sold one in every ten pre-paid funeral plans in the UK.

Bryan Powell, CEO and co-founder, Pure Cremation, commented: “This re-finance deal with Santander UK allows us to thank Puma Investments for its faith in us with a great return on its money, and means that the executive team can now take full control of a very exciting future for the company.”

Caitlin Thompson-Geering, Associate Director, Strategic Debt Solutions, Structured Finance at Santander UK, said: “Pure Cremation offers an affordable option for funerals as well as giving people the opportunity to plan and pay for their funeral in advance. It is an innovative, fast growing business and we are pleased to be able to support the management team to finance its buy-out and support the next stage of its growth.”

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