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Carriage Services Announces Record Third Quarter and Nine Month Results:

·46 min read
GlobeNewswire Inc.

Conference call on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at 9:30 a.m. Central Time

  • Record Third Quarter Revenue of $95.0 million and Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.82;

  • Increase in Rolling Four Quarter, 2021 and 2022 Roughly Right Range Outlooks;

  • Invested $53.2 million to repurchase 1,203,493 shares ($44.24 per share) since second quarter release;

  • Invested $65.5 million to repurchase 1,528,197 shares ($42.89 per share) since May 13th (8.5% of outs.);

  • Increase of $10 per share in Intrinsic Value Roughly Right Range to $65 to $75 Per Share;

  • Increase of $75 million in Approved Stock Repurchase Program to $85 million after YTD repurchases;

  • Dividend increase of 5 cents per share to total 45 cents per share annually; and

  • Declaration of Quarterly Cash Dividend reflecting recent increase.

HOUSTON, Oct. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Carriage Services, Inc. (NYSE: CSV): Mel Payne, Chairman and CEO, stated, “Our third quarter pre-COVID performance has historically been our lowest seasonal performance quarter because of low seasonal death rates related to warm weather prior to the flu season, as well as our 75% funeral/25% cemetery portfolio revenue mix. Yet our third quarter 2021 performance with Total Revenue of $95.0 million, Field EBITDA of $44.7 million (Field EBITDA Margin of 47.0%), Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA of $32.4 million (Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Margin of 34.1%), Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.82, and Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $25.9 million (Adjusted Free Cash Flow Margin of 27.3%), was the second highest in our thirty year history, almost equaling the historically highest performance metrics of this year’s first quarter during the peak spike in COVID deaths (first quarter Adjusted Diluted EPS was $0.81 but after proforma lower interest costs from our bond refinancing on May 13 was $0.90). All five of our field reporting segments executed at an extremely high level during the quarter with revenue and margin growth accelerating with strong momentum throughout each month to a spectacularly strong September, indicating a likely strong finish to the year in the fourth quarter.

Just as we stated in our second quarter release dated July 27 in the section titled “Capital Allocation Framework,” we have since allocated $53.2 million to aggressively repurchase 1,203,493 of our shares at an average price of $44.24, a discount of 19.6% to the $55 per share bottom price of our opinion of the Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value Per Share on July 27. Based on the continuing high organic growth rate of all of our performance valuation metrics, as more fully described below, we are raising our opinion of Carriage’s Intrinsic Value Per Share by $10 per share to a Roughly Right Range of $65 to $75 per share. Since we restarted our Share Repurchase Program in the second quarter after our bond refinancing on May 13, we have repurchased 1,528,197 of our shares (8.5% of Total Outstanding) from “Mr. Market Rodney Dangerfield” for approximately $65.5 million or an average price of $42.89, a discount of 34.0% from the bottom price of $65 per share of our updated and increased Intrinsic Value Per Share Range.

We have entered a “Per Ownership Share Value Creation Sweet Spot” dynamic with accelerating high operating and financial performance and an “actually outstanding” share count that is rapidly shrinking while our leverage profile is currently at 3.98 times and close to our upper sustainable policy limit of 4 times. I calculate a Non-GAAP share count equal to the actual number of shares outstanding of 16.65 million at September 30, 2021 after our YTD repurchases of 1,528,197, plus “in the money vested options” of 235,000, but not including 511,614 shares “in the money and price vested” under our Five Year Good To Great II Shareholder Value Creation Incentive Plan which are conditionally delivered in early 2025 to plan participants under a requirement that they are still employed at the end of 2024. My Non-GAAP proforma share count using this methodology becomes 16.885 million as of September 30, 2021, whereas our Adjusted Diluted share count for reporting purposes under GAAP at September 30, 2021 equals 18.246 million or 8.1% higher than my proforma share count.

As the largest individual shareholder and a self-taught professional investor, I care much more about my proforma share count number as the “current shareholder ownership reality” than the sometimes confusing GAAP methodology for diluted shares outstanding. It can actually be misleading in the short term when a company like Carriage has such a rapidly increasing earnings and Free Cash Flow profile in combination with a rapidly shrinking share count, yet the GAAP rule for diluted shares outstanding is a rolling multi-quarter average and also surprisingly includes price vested incentive shares that require 49 leader participants to still be employed at least in their current roles another 3¼ years to the end of 2024. For example, since the one time only Five Year Good To Great II Shareholder Value Creation Incentive Plan was approved on May 16, 2020 after our shares had plummeted to $14.38 per share during the COVID market crash, five senior participants have left the company who otherwise had they stayed would be currently price vested to receive 129,899 shares in early 2025 (25.4% of current total of 511,614), but received none upon their departure.

The GAAP share count rules based methodology would seem much more appropriate for public enterprises that can’t, except in rare cases, execute a radical High Performance Transformation within a two year timeframe as Carriage has successfully done in 2020 and continues to do in 2021, especially since May 13 on a per share basis. When we proforma Adjusted Diluted EPS for my proforma share count at September 30, 2021 and lower interest costs prior to our refinancing on May 13, the combined proforma impact of lower interest costs and fewer outstanding shares increases our reported Adjusted Diluted EPS from $0.82 to $0.89 in the third quarter of 2021, from $2.27 to $2.64 for the first nine months of 2021, and from $2.84 to $3.36 for the trailing twelve months ending September 30, 2021.

Our initial Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value Per Share on May 13 was $50 to $60 per share using our preferred valuation methodology of Free Cash Flow Equity Yield. The Intrinsic Value Per Share Range was raised by $5 per share in our second quarter release on July 27 and now $10 per share in this third quarter release, so in only 5½ months the midpoint of our opinion of Intrinsic Value Per Share Range has increased from $55 per share to $70 per share, an increase of $15 per share or 27.3%. Using our Proforma(1) Adjusted FCF of $81.2 million over the most recent twelve months performance period and our cost of capital of 6.4% as a FCF discount factor along with my Proforma Share Count at September 30 of 16.885 million, the Intrinsic Value Per Share based on FCF Equity Yield equals $75.14 per share, just above the $75 per share top price of our new Intrinsic Value Per Share Range. Since our current share price of $44.23 is 32.0% below the $65 per share bottom price of our new Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value, we will continue to place a high capital allocation priority on share repurchases during the fourth quarter while maintaining a moderate leverage position of about 4 times Total Debt to EBITDA.

During the third quarter, we began to process and qualify a much higher level of acquisition activity, some of which we expect to meet the highly selective Strategic Criteria of our Strategic Acquisition Model as well as our updated high ROIC Standards relative to other capital allocation options. We expect the pace of growth by acquisition to pick up in 2022 and beyond compared to 2020 and 2021 when the COVID Pandemic challenged many independent owners not part of a company like Carriage with all of its best in class support services. The COVID Pandemic challenges together with the potential for a large tax increase in capital gains taxes have produced two compelling motivations for independent business owners to consider a succession plan solution sooner rather than later.

On May 13 we began stating publicly our opinion of Intrinsic Value Per Share within a Roughly Right Range of $10 per share between the bottom price and top price of the range, a valuation concept that commits our Senior Leadership Teams and Board of Directors (the “Board”) to execute our Capital Allocation Program with savviness, flexibility, discipline, patience and wisdom in order to optimize the Intrinsic Value Per Share over time, especially over longer timeframes of five to ten years. We believe “Mr. Market Tom Brady” will sooner rather than later recognize the many value creation strengths of our Operating and Consolidation Platform and over time our market price will align with our opinion of intrinsic value per share and produce long-term market beating compounded shareholder returns.

Just as we have done in each of our quarterly earnings releases over the last two years of Carriage’s HIGH PERFORMANCE TRANSFORMATION, the balance of this release will be a continuing journey of understanding our past, present and future performance told through “highly transparent” high performance data sequentially shown on the following pages as follows,” concluded Mr. Payne.

  • Third Quarter and First Nine Months Comparative Performance Highlights;

  • Five Quarter Trend Report Ending September 30, 2021;

  • Same Store Funeral Revenue Monthly Trends and Drivers Six Months Ending September 2021;

  • Third Quarter and First Nine Months 2021 versus 2020 Overhead / Incentive Compensation Comparison;

  • Update on Strategic Acquisition Activity and Outlook for Acquisition Growth;

  • Updated and Increased Rolling Four Quarter Outlook Ending September 30, 2022 and Two Year Scenario 2021/2022;

  • Updated and Increased Intrinsic Value Per Share Range and Capital Allocation Strategy and Priorities;

  • Free Cash Flow and Leverage Update; and

  • Third Quarter and First Nine Month Trust Performance/Impact on Reported Financial Segment.

THIRD QUARTER 2021 COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

  • GAAP Funeral Operating Income of $22.9 million, an increase of $8.9 million or 64.0%;

  • GAAP Cemetery Operating Income of $9.5 million, an increase of $0.5 million or 5.4%;

  • GAAP Net Income of $13.0 million, an increase of $7.5 million equal to 136.1%;

  • GAAP Net Income Margin of 13.7%, an increase of 720 basis points; and

  • GAAP Diluted EPS of $0.71, an increase of $0.40 per share equal to 129.0%.

  • Total Revenue of $95.0 million, an increase of $10.6 million or 12.6%;

  • Same Store Funeral Contracts of 10,664, an increase of 1,222 or 12.9%;

  • Same Store Funeral Revenue of $55.5 million, an increase of $7.6 million or 16.0%;

  • Same Store Funeral EBITDA of $25.0 million, an increase of $5.1 million or 25.4%;

  • Same Store Funeral EBITDA Margin of 45.0%, an increase of 340 basis points;

  • Acquisition Funeral Revenue of $9.4 million, an increase of $1.1 million or 14.0%;

  • Acquisition Funeral EBITDA of $4.0 million, an increase of $1.0 million or 35.1%;

  • Acquisition Funeral EBITDA Margin of 42.5%, an increase of 660 basis points;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Revenue of $6.4 million, an increase of $1.1 million or 21.9%;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Field EBITDA of $3.5 million, an increase of $1.2 million or 51.9%;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin of 55.8%, an increase of 1,110 basis points;

  • Total Field EBITDA of $44.7 million, an increase of $7.3 million or 19.7%;

  • Total Field EBITDA Margin of 47.0%, an increase of 280 basis points;

  • Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA of $32.4 million, an increase of $4.7 million or 17.1%;

  • Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Margin of 34.1%, an increase of 130 basis points;

  • Adjusted Diluted EPS of $0.82, an increase of $0.31 per share equal to 60.8%;

  • Adjusted Proforma(1) Diluted EPS of $0.89, an increase of $0.38 per share equal to 74.5%;

  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $25.9 million, a decrease of $1.7 million or 6.1%; and

  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow Margin of 27.3%, a decrease of 540 basis points.

Carlos Quezada, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer stated, “As Mel had previously discussed in our first and second quarter earnings releases, and Steve Metzger will cover in detail later in this release, the increases in our record consolidated performance metrics, i.e. Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA/Margin, Adjusted and Proforma EPS, and Adjusted and Proforma Free Cash Flow/Margin in the third quarter and first nine months of 2021 compared to 2020 would have been even higher if not for the under accruals of primarily field incentive compensation in the first nine months of 2020 amidst the portfolio performance uncertainty of the early and middle phases of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Contrary to last year, we are fully accrued this year, as corporate and field incentive compensation in the third quarter of 2021 was $1.0 million or about 4 cents per share higher than third quarter last year (using Adjusted Proforma shares of 16.885 million) and $5.7 million or about 25 cents per share higher in the first nine months of 2021 versus last year, which is more fully explained in our overhead section on Pages 10 and 11 of this release.

FIRST NINE MONTHS 2021 COMPARATIVE PERFORMANCE HIGHLIGHTS

  • GAAP Funeral Operating Income of $65.4 million, an increase of $27.2 million or 71.4%;

  • GAAP Cemetery Operating Income of $30.5 million, an increase of $12.0 million or 65.2%;

  • GAAP Net Income of $19.8 million, an increase of $12.1 million equal to 156.5%;

  • GAAP Net Income Margin of 7.1%, an increase of 390 basis points; and

  • GAAP Diluted EPS of $1.08, an increase of $0.65 per share equal to 151.2%.

  • Total Revenue of $280.0 million, an increase of $40.6 million or 17.0%;

  • Total Same Store Funeral Contracts of 30,793, an increase of 3,190 or 11.6%;

  • Same Store Funeral Revenue of $159.7 million, an increase of $20.6 million or 14.8%;

  • Same Store Funeral Field EBITDA of $69.5 million, an increase of $12.8 million or 22.5%;

  • Same Store Funeral Field EBITDA Margin of 43.5%, an increase of 280 basis points;

  • Acquisition Funeral Revenue of $28.0 million, an increase of $1.9 million or 7.4%;

  • Acquisition Funeral Field EBITDA of $11.7 million, an increase of $1.8 million or 17.7%;

  • Acquisition Funeral Field EBITDA Margin of 41.7%, an increase of 360 basis points;

  • Same Store Cemetery Revenue of $47.9 million, an increase of $10.9 million or 29.6%;

  • Same Store Cemetery Field EBITDA of $20.1 million, an increase of $7.1 million or 54.4%;

  • Same Store Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin of 41.9%, an increase of 670 basis points;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Revenue of $21.5 million, an increase of $9.4 million or 78.2%;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Field EBITDA of $12.4 million, an increase of $7.8 million or 169.4%;

  • Acquisition Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin of 57.6%, an increase of 1,950 basis points;

  • Total Field EBITDA of $130.5 million, an increase of $29.8 million or 29.6%;

  • Total Field EBITDA Margin of 46.6%, an increase of 460 basis points;

  • Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA of $95.8 million, an increase of $19.8 million or 26.1%;

  • Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Margin of 34.2%, an increase of 250 basis points;

  • Adjusted Diluted EPS of $2.27, an increase of $0.97 per share equal to 74.6%;

  • Adjusted Proforma(1) Diluted EPS of $2.64, an increase of $1.34 per share equal to 103.4%;

  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $65.4 million, an increase of $7.3 million or 12.5%;

  • Adjusted Free Cash Flow Margin of 23.4%, a decrease of 90 basis points;

  • Adjusted Proforma(1) Free Cash Flow of $68.2 million, an increase of $10.2 million or 17.6%;

  • Adjusted Proforma(1) Free Cash Flow Margin of 24.4%, an increase of 20 basis points; and

  • Bank Covenant Compliance Leverage Ratio of 3.98 times(2).

(1)

Proforma lower interest impact of recent refinancing effective as of January 1, 2021 (pre-tax lower interest cost of $4.0 million for the first half 2021) and Non-GAAP Proforma Diluted Shares Outstanding of 16.885 million as of September 30, 2021. Non-GAAP Diluted Shares Outstanding includes 16.65 Basic Shares Outstanding plus .235 million vested equity options and excludes .512 million shares from “in the money and vested” shares related to Carriage’s Five Year Good To Great Shareholder Value Creation Incentive Plan.

(2)

Bank Covenant Compliance Rolling 12 Months Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA of $125.1 million, which includes $1.0 million of cash add backs for deferred purchase price and Total Debt of $497.6 million on September 30, 2021.


FIVE QUARTER TREND REPORT

Mr. Quezada continued, “We report our performance results publicly using the same highly transparent Non-GAAP “Trend Reports” that we use internally and which have been explained in previous shareholder letters, including Five Year and Five Quarter Trend Reports that reflect long and short term trends in our core operating, financial and overhead sectors over time. Shown on the next page are highlights from our Five Quarter Trend Report that clearly reflect the accelerating transformative high performance process that occurred at Carriage in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic from the second quarter of 2020 through the peak of the Pandemic impact in the first quarter of 2021, which has continued through the third quarter and is reflected in our updated outlooks through 2022.

The Five Quarter Trend Report is followed on Page 7 by the Same Store Funeral Monthly Revenue Trends Report for the six months ending September. Both the Five Quarter and Same Store Funeral Revenue Six Month Trend Reports reflect that after an elevated high performance “normalization” in the second quarter, our amazing third quarter performance fully reflects our Annual Theme: CARRIAGE SERVICES 2021: ACCELERATING HIGH PERFORMANCE FLYWHEEL EFFECT!

FIVE QUARTER OPERATING AND FINANCIAL TREND REPORT HIGHLIGHTS

(000’s except for volume, averages & margins)

3RD QTR
2020

4TH QTR
2020

1ST QTR
2021

2ND QTR
2021

3RD QTR
2021

Funeral Same Store Contracts

9,442

10,199

11,049

9,080

10,664

Average Revenue Per Contract (1)

$

5,069

$

5,160

$

5,143

$

5,220

$

5,205

Funeral Same Store Burial Contracts

3,383

3,794

4,052

3,203

3,597

Funeral Same Store Burial Rate

35.8

%

37.2

%

36.7

%

35.3

%

33.7

%

Average Revenue Per Burial Contract

$

8,982

$

9,015

$

8,991

$

9,259

$

9,442

Funeral Same Store Cremation Contracts

5,389

5,706

6,290

5,164

6,133

Funeral Same Store Cremation Rate

57.1

%

55.9

%

56.9

%

56.9

%

57.5

%

Average Revenue Per Cremation Contract

$

3,283

$

3,249

$

3,293

$

3,415

$

3,443

Funeral Same Store Revenue

$

47,865

$

52,632

$

56,829

$

47,397

$

55,502

Funeral Same Store EBITDA

$

19,903

$

23,164

$

25,829

$

18,665

$

24,960

Funeral Same Store EBITDA Margin

41.6

%

44.0

%

45.5

%

39.4

%

45.0

%

Funeral Acquisition Revenue

$

8,205

$

9,348

$

10,139

$

8,557

$

9,354

Funeral Acquisition EBITDA

$

2,942

$

3,683

$

4,467

$

3,261

$

3,974

Funeral Acquisition EBITDA Margin

35.9

%

39.4

%

44.1

%

38.1

%

42.5

%

Cemetery Same Store Preneed Property Contracts Sold

1,067

1,033

1,161

1,211

1,280

Cemetery Same Store Preneed Sales Revenue

$

8,317

$

9,231

$

9,718

$

11,445

$

11,366

Cemetery Same Store Revenue

$

14,391

$

14,814

$

14,635

$

16,906

$

16,342

Cemetery Same Store EBITDA

$

6,161

$

6,497

$

5,704

$

7,907

$

6,465

Cemetery Same Store EBITDA Margin

42.8

%

43.9

%

39.0

%

46.8

%

39.6

%

Cemetery Acquisition Preneed Property Contracts Sold

304

345

338

475

294

Cemetery Acquisition Preneed Sales Revenue

$

4,073

$

5,394

$

5,089

$

6,839

$

5,148

Cemetery Acquisition Revenue

$

5,220

$

5,509

$

6,980

$

8,175

$

6,362

Cemetery Acquisition EBITDA

$

2,335

$

2,532

$

4,102

$

4,737

$

3,547

Cemetery Acquisition EBITDA Margin

44.7

%

46.0

%

58.8

%

57.9

%

55.8

%

Total Financial Revenue

$

5,631

$

5,263

$

5,706

$

5,405

$

5,639

Total Financial EBITDA

$

5,282

$

4,923

$

5,305

$

5,058

$

5,225

Total Financial EBITDA Margin

93.8

%

93.5

%

93.0

%

93.6

%

92.7

%

Total Revenue

$

84,393

$

90,088

$

96,637

$

88,277

$

95,041

Total Field EBITDA

$

37,309

$

41,318

$

45,787

$

40,014

$

44,651

Total Field EBITDA Margin

44.2

%

45.9

%

47.4

%

45.3

%

47.0

%

Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA

$

27,666

$

28,300

$

34,657

$

28,720

$

32,389

Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Margin

32.8

%

31.4

%

35.9

%

32.5

%

34.1

%

Adjusted Diluted EPS

$

0.51

$

0.57

$

0.81

$

0.64

$

0.82

Adjusted Free Cash Flow

$

27,608

$

11,870

$

27,140

$

12,313

$

25,922

Adjusted Free Cash Flow Margin

32.7

%

13.2

%

28.1

%

13.9

%

27.3

%

(1) Excludes Preneed Funeral interest earnings reflected in Total Financial Revenue.


SAME STORE FUNERAL MONTHLY REVENUE TRENDS SIX MONTHS ENDING SEPTEMBER 2021

(000’s except for volume, averages)

Same Store Funeral

APR

MAY

JUN

JUL

AUG

SEP

Contracts (volume) 2021

3,044

2,911

3,125

3,081

3,647

3,936

Contracts (volume) 2020

3,194

2,950

2,937

3,163

3,210

3,069

Volume Variance

(150

)

(39

)

188

(82

)

437

867

Average Revenue Per Contract 2021(1)

$

5,168

$

5,234

$

5,257

$

5,294

$

5,101

$

5,231

Average Revenue Per Contract 2020(1)

$

4,619

$

4,943

$

5,134

$

4,927

$

5,148

$

5,135

Average Revenue Per Contract Variance (ARPC)

$

549

$

291

$

123

$

367

$

(47

)

$

96

Operating Revenue 2021(1)

$

15,731

$

15,235

$

16,429

$

16,313

$

18,603

$

20,588

Operating Revenue 2020(1)

$

14,754

$

14,583

$

15,080

$

15,585

$

16,524

$

15,758

Operating Revenue Variance

$

977

$

652

$

1,349

$

728

$

2,079

$

4,830

Net Revenue Volume Variance

$

(693

)

$

(193

)

$

965

$

(404

)

$

2,249

$

4,452

Net Revenue Average Variance

$

1,670

$

845

$

384

$

1,132

$

(170

)

$

378

Net Revenue Variance

$

977

$

652

$

1,349

$

728

$

2,079

$

4,830

(1) Excludes Preneed Funeral interest earnings reflected in Total Financial Revenue.


Funeral Home Segment

While we experienced a large increase in funeral volumes in the third quarter, only about 60% of the variance was attributable to deaths from the Delta COVID-19 variant, as our record performance in the third quarter of 2021 was primarily a consequence of our agility and adaptability to the continued changing environment and consumer preferences in our industry. These new industry dynamics have challenged funeral homes across the nation that were not able to adapt and offer new and innovative ways to serve families. Consequently, many independent businesses as well as some consolidators have lost market share since the pandemic began to competitors like Carriage that have adapted with creative solutions that have led to broadly higher funeral volumes (Same Store Contracts up 12.9%) in the third quarter this year versus last.

To make a market share comparison under normalized pre-pandemic levels, we compared 2019 Same Store Funeral Contracts against 2021. The data reflects that non-COVID volume growth after offsetting for COVID-19 deaths during the third quarter of 2021 was also 12.9% versus the same period of 2019 (volume growth excluding COVID deaths presumed to be a combination of market share gains and higher normalized death rates). For the nine months ending September 2021, non-COVID volume growth was 8.1% higher than 2019.

Our long term pre-COVID historical seasonal trends indicate that the third quarter has been the slowest quarter of the year and September the slowest month. However, our Same Store Funeral Revenue in the third quarter of 2021 increased by $7.6 million or 16.0%, accelerating higher each month year over year to a peak increase in September (63.2% of total quarterly increase) as shown in the Same Store Funeral Monthly Variance table above, while our acquisition portfolio increased $1.1 million or 14.0% in the third quarter. Both of these dollar increases exceeded the correlation of the increase during the quarter in Same Store Funeral Contracts of 12.9% and Acquisition Funeral Contracts of 7.4% when compared to the same period last year, a result of our combined Funeral Average Revenue Per Contract (ARPC) of $5,372 being $129 or 2.5% higher than the ARPC of $5,243 last year.

The creativity, passion and devotion to our profession with which our team of 4E Leadership Managing Partners and Funeral Directors serve families has further accelerated the growth in market share broadly across our portfolio, as our leaders and teams of employees continue to welcome families and offer all options available to each family every time. Because of the determination of our Managing Partners and teams of employees to serve all families regardless of method of disposition or revenue potential, our Same Store Total Cremation Volume grew to 6,133 contracts or 13.8% over the 5,389 last year, and as our Managing Partners and their employee teams continued to focus on educating families on the many products and service options possible with cremation, our Average Revenue Per Cremation increased to $3,443 or 4.9% in the third quarter over the $3,283 ARPC last year.

Our Same Store Funeral Field EBITDA grew to $25.0 million in the third quarter or 25.4% over the same period last year, while our Acquisition Funeral Field EBITDA increased to $4.0 million or 35.1% over last year, increases that exceeded revenue growth as our Managing Partners focused on optimizing the inherent operating leverage in each business in alignment with their annual Being The Best High Performance Standards. As a result, Same Store Funeral Field EBITDA Margin increased by 340 basis points in the third quarter while our Acquisition Funeral Field EBITDA Margin increased by 660 basis points.

At the beginning of 2020, we changed the annual Funeral Being The Best incentive bonus to 50% of what otherwise would have been paid to Managing Partners that didn’t achieve their Field EBITDA Margin Range (4 percentage points spread). This major incentive change, when combined with 50% of Funeral Performance Standards being updated and rebooted at the end of 2018 (covered in detail in Mel’s 2018 Shareholder Letter) to correlate to 3 year compounded growth in revenue and volumes, has had a significant impact on our funeral revenue and field margin growth in 2020 and 2021.

These core critical recognition and financial rewards modifications together with a large degree of “topgrading” of Funeral Managing Partners in larger “meter moving” funeral homes since September 2018 have led to substantially higher Revenue, Field EBITDA and Field EBITDA Margins across our funeral portfolio. The COVID Pandemic might have accelerated our Funeral High Performance Trends but the foundational high performance elements and concepts of First Who, Then What and Why preceded the beginning of the COVID Pandemic in March 2020.

Cemetery Segment

Over the past fifteen months, we have been in execution mode of our High Performance Sales Plan to generate momentum on the Carriage Cemetery High Performance Flywheel consistently and sustainably over time. This newly created High Performance Sales Culture has produced consistent and increasingly higher sales growth as reflected by the following highlights:

For the Third Quarter of 2021

  • Total Cemetery Operating Revenue of $22.7 million or 15.8% higher than last year;

  • Total Cemetery Field EBITDA of $10.0 million or 17.8% higher than last year;

  • Total Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin of 44.1% or 80 basis points higher than last year;

  • Preneed Cemetery Property Sales of $13.5 million or 25.3% higher than last year; and

  • Total Cemetery Sales Production of $25.4 Million or 22.8% higher than last year.

For the Nine Months ending September 2021

  • Total Cemetery Operating Revenue of $69.4 or 41.6% higher than last year;

  • Total Cemetery Field EBITDA of $32.5 million or 84.5% higher than last year;

  • Total Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin of 46.8% or 1,090 basis points higher than last year;

  • Preneed Cemetery Property Sales of $40.6 million or 55.8% higher than last year; and

  • Total Cemetery Sales Production of $76.8 Million or 41.2% higher than last year.

Even with COVID-19 restrictions mandated in many States and Counties, our Cemetery Transformative High Performance accelerated due to the tenacity and drive of our Sales Teams across the Cemetery Portfolio who were able to achieve our goals in alignment with our Being The Best Mission and Vision regardless of the many uncontrollable challenges. We reached critical mass in our cemetery portfolio with three large acquisitions at the end of 2019, developed the sales culture strategy, designed the tools and executed the plan to create sustainable High Performance Sales Teams. The performance result was broadly higher Cemetery Same Store and Acquisition Sales and Total Revenue Trends which in turn produced historically high Field EBITDA and Margin trends in the second half of 2020 and the first nine months of 2021. We can say with 100% certainty that our sales teams are ready, highly energized and resiliently inspired to continue conquering higher altitudes on the Carriage Services Transformational High Performance Rocket we have launched to reach places we have never been before,” concluded Mr. Quezada.

THIRD QUARTER / NINE MONTHS 2021 VERSUS 2020 OVERHEAD/INCENTIVE COMPENSATION

Steve Metzger, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel, stated “In our first and second quarter earnings releases, we discussed in detail how our Overhead segment is broken into three categories. We highlighted in each of those releases the “Total Variable Overhead” category which consists of two major sub-categories, field and corporate incentive compensation accruals (and payments after each calendar year) and various types of non-recurring items (termination or severance costs, legal settlements, natural disaster related costs, etc.). Given our continued strong performance, we have accrued both corporate and field incentive compensation aggressively throughout the year.

Our Total Variable Overhead increased $3.0 million or 74.2% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the third quarter of 2020, but only $1 million of the increase was corporate and field incentive compensation equal to about 4 cents per share. The other approximately $2 million consisted of items that were either one-time non-recurring charges or continuing pandemic costs that we expect to diminish to a much lower normalized level in 2022. Total Variable Overhead for the first three quarters of 2021 increased $9.1 million or 96.3% compared to the first three quarters of 2020, of which $5.7 million equal to 25 cents per share was attributable to substantially higher accruals for corporate and field incentive compensation that are directly correlated to the amazing field operating and financial performance of our High Performance Managing Partners and Sales Managers throughout our portfolio of funeral homes and cemeteries.

Total Overhead Margin as a percentage of Total Revenue, which has been elevated this year because of the large increase in incentive compensation accruals and non-recurring or unsustainable “overhead noise,” should normalize over the next fifteen months ending 2022 (before any new acquisitions) within a range of 11% to 12% with Total Variable Overhead comprised of mostly incentive compensation representing about one-third of Total Overhead.

Our High Performance Culture Flywheel highlights “First Who, Then What” for a reason. We are focused on attracting and then motivating the very best talent by closely aligning their annual and five year performance with associated one and five year incentive programs that cannot be found elsewhere in our industry. As these leaders’ performance continues to grow and alignment strengthens, incentive compensation for that talent increases in kind – and that is exactly how “Pay for High and Sustained Performance” incentive compensation should work because our shareholders get rewarded with superior long term compounded investment returns. Simply stated, Best In Class Performance results in Best In Class Incentive Compensation at Carriage, which results in the Best In Class Talent being recruited and retained in all of our critical leadership positions.

THIRD QUARTER AND FIRST NINE MONTHS OVERHEAD COMPARISONS (000'S)

Three Months Ended September 30,

Nine Months Ended September 30,

Overhead

2020

2021

Variance $

Variance %

2020

2021

Variance $

Variance %

Total Variable

$

4,077

$

7,103

$

3,026

74.2

%

$

9,450

$

18,548

$

9,098

96.3

%

Total Regional

1,020

1,326

306

30.0

%

2,930

3,881

951

32.5

%

Total Corporate

4,841

5,855

1,014

20.9

%

14,971

16,893

1,922

12.8

%

Total Overhead

$

9,938

$

14,284

$

4,346

43.7

%

$

27,351

$

39,322

$

11,971

43.8

%

% Total Revenue

11.8

%

15.0

%

320 bp

27.1

%

11.4

%

14.0

%

260 bp

22.8

%

Corporate Incentive Comp.

$

975

$

1,367

$

392

40.2

%

$

2,200

$

3,467

$

1,267

57.6

%

Field Incentive Comp.

2,787

3,411

624

22.4

%

5,055

9,510

4,455

88.1

%

Separation Expenses

73

99

26

35.6

%

621

1,830

1,209

194.7

%

Disaster Recovery and Pandemic Costs

312

752

440

141.0

%

728

1,753

1,025

140.8

%

Acquis/Divest. Expenses

65

84

19

29.2

%

283

311

28

9.9

%

Other Variable

(135

)

1,390

1,525

N/A

563

1,677

1,114

197.9

%

Total Variable Overhead

$

4,077

$

7,103

$

3,026

74.2

%

$

9,450

$

18,548

$

9,098

96.3

%

% Total Revenue

4.8

%

7.5

%

270 bp

56.3

%

3.9

%

6.6

%

270 bp

69.2

%


UPDATE ON ACQUISITION ACTIVITY AND OUTLOOK FOR ACQUISITION GROWTH

Mr. Metzger, continued, “In our second quarter earnings release we explained how our capital allocation priorities remain driven by a disciplined approach focused on generating the greatest return for our shareholders. We encourage everyone to reference our prior release to learn more about these priorities and the metrics we use to guide our capital allocation analysis.

As discussed in prior releases as well as on earnings calls, given the current market price of our shares as compared to the intrinsic value per share calculations we outlined earlier in this release, we continue to believe share repurchases remain one of the best value creation opportunities for our shareholders. With the recent increased share repurchase authority approved by our Board, we will maintain the flexibility to be opportunistic with repurchases as we continuously assess the market price compared to our increasing and sustainable financial performance using metric driven intrinsic value analysis.

The higher operating and financial performance of our portfolio of businesses, together with our new low cost balance sheet is providing the financial strength and flexibility to continue our share repurchase program, invest in internal growth projects such as increased cemetery development, increase our dividend for a third time in the last 18 months, while also maintaining our previously articulated Net Debt to Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA target Leverage Ratio of approximately 4 times or less.

We have also increased the frequency and nature of ongoing conversations with several wonderful business owners who we believe are excellent candidates to join the Carriage Family. We are working closely with these owners to help them learn more about Carriage, our people and our unique locally driven approach defined by our High Performance Culture Framework for operating and consolidating the best remaining independent businesses in the best strategic markets. These discussions have centered around listening to what succession approach and timeline is best for each owner, their teams and their businesses. We believe a strong, long-term win-win partnership begins before a Letter of Intent is ever signed so we are excited about these ongoing conversations and the possible future additions to the Carriage Family in 2022 and beyond.

We do not create pre-determined quarterly or annual targets for acquisition investments for two very important reasons. First, it is impossible to predict when owners of the right businesses will be ready for a succession plan solution and, when they are, what process and timeline will be best for those owners. Secondly, and just as importantly at any given time, there may be other capital allocation opportunities which provide stronger return potential for our shareholders, so we always review potential five to ten year investment returns on any acquisition candidate in comparison to long term returns on other capital allocation options to ensure the highest and best use of our shareholders’ capital. This focus, in lieu of spending or timeline targets, disciplines us to be particularly selective when it comes to acquisitions, given how high the bar currently has been set related to other capital allocation options. With that said, the number of high quality businesses and owners that we have met with recently has grown and we are excited about where these conversations are headed. Stay tuned as we expect the next quarter to bring more developments on this front.

As we look beyond the upcoming quarter, we expect more and more high quality business owners to be ready to transition to the next chapters in their lives over the course of the next 3-5 years. We look forward to the opportunity to share the Carriage Story with these owners and introduce them to our fantastic team. Our experience is that once an owner gets to know us, many will consider us as the succession option that best protects their legacy and allows them to feel confident and excited as they head into that next chapter of their life, while also knowing they will have no regrets about their business continuing to prosper and grow with the Best In Class support provided by Carriage.

The Carriage High Performance Flywheel components of Capital Allocation and Value Creation Dynamics are truly at their best right now. The financial flexibility generated by the high performance of our businesses combined with our disciplined, metric driven capital allocation approach, is truly the value creation “sweet spot” that we have been working towards. Now that this “sweet spot” is in front of us and we are positioned with a strong balance sheet, we will continue to be good, disciplined stewards of our shareholders’ capital as new and exciting opportunities present themselves,” concluded Mr. Metzger.

THE DATA DON’T LIE – A TALE TOLD WITH HIGH PERFORMANCE DATA

Ben Brink, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, stated, “Our 2021 Annual Theme is: CARRIAGE SERVICES 2021: ACCELERATING HIGH PERFORMANCE FLYWHEEL EFFECT! The performance trend data shown below detailing the incredible transformation in our performance since the end of 2018 is a testament to the dedication and passion of our Managing Partners and their teams across Carriage and demonstrates clearly that Carriage’s High Performance Flywheel only continues to Accelerate!

CARRIAGE HIGH PERFORMANCE TRANSFORMATION

Income Category

(Millions except Per Share)

2018 - 12 Months 9/30/21

2018

2019

2020

12 Months Ending
9/30/2021 (1)

$ Change

% Change

Total Revenue

$

268.0

$

274.1

$

329.4

$

370.0

$

102

38.1

%

Total Field EBITDA

$

104.3

$

109.8

$

141.9

$

171.8

$

67.5

64.7

%

Total Field EBITDA Margin %

38.9

%

40.0

%

43.1

%

46.4

%

750 bp

19.3

%

Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA

$

70.2

$

76.6

$

104.3

$

124.1

$

53.9

76.8

%

Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Margin %

26.2

%

27.9

%

31.6

%

33.5

%

730 bp

27.9

%

Adjusted FCF

$

42.6

$

38.8

$

70.0

$

77.2

$

34.6

81.2

%

Adjusted FCF Margin %

15.9

%

14.2

%

21.2

%

20.9

%

500 bp

31.4

%

Adjusted Diluted EPS

$

1.17

$

1.25

$

1.86

$

2.84

$

1.67

142.7

%

Adjusted Diluted Proforma EPS (1)

$

1.17

NA

NA

$

3.36

$

2.19

187.2

%

GAAP Net Income

$

11.6

$

14.5

$

16.1

$

28.2

$

16.6

143.1

%

GAAP Diluted EPS

$

0.63

$

0.80

$

0.89

$

1.55

$

0.92

146.0

%


(1)

Diluted EPS for the most recent 12 months ending 09/30/2021 is adjusted for lower annual interest cost of $6.4 million (pre-tax) from recent refinancing as if new $400 million 4.25% senior notes issued May 2021 was effective on September 30, 2020 and Proforma Diluted Shares outstanding of 16.885 million as of September 30, 2021.


CEMETERY PORTFOLIO HIGH PERFORMANCE TRANSFORMATION

Data/Income Category

(Millions except Interments & Average)

2018 - 12 Months
9/30/21

2018

2019

2020

12 Months Ending
9/30/2021

$ Change

% Change

Number of Interments Sold – Preneed

6,360

7,156

9,457

11,368

5,008

78.7

%

Preneed Property Average

$

3,605

$

3,673

$

4,049

$

4,649

$

1,044

29.0

%

Net Preneed Property Revenue

$

22,927

$

26,287

$

38,293

$

52,851

29,924

130.5

%

Total Preneed M&S Revenue

$

5,532

$

5,653

$

9,205

$

11,379

$

5,847

105.7

%

Total Preneed Sales Revenue

$

28,459

$

31,941

$

47,498

$

64,230

$

35,771

125.7

%

Total Cemetery Operating Revenue

$

44,918

$

49,553

$

69,351

$

89,723

$

44,805

99.7

%

Total Cemetery Field EBITDA

$

13,840

$

17,101

$

26,627

$

41,491

$

27,651

199.8

%

Total Cemetery Field EBITDA Margin

30.8

%

34.5

%

38.4

%

46.2

%

1,540 bp

50.0

%

GAAP Cemetery Operating Income

$

14,717

$

15,983

$

26,859

$

38,881

$

24,164

164.2

%


UPDATED ROLLING FOUR QUARTER OUTLOOK AND TWO YEAR SCENARIO

Given the current strong operating momentum and expectation for continued organic growth across our entire portfolio, we are once again increasing our Rolling Four Quarter Outlook and Roughly Right Range Two Year Scenario ending December 31, 2022. The increases in our range of performance metrics have increased significantly since our update in the second quarter, which continues our policy of adjusting our outlook and scenario higher when we believe such significant increases in our performance valuation metrics are sustainable into the future. We have previously outlined performance drivers within our control that we believed would lead to sustained higher organic growth rates irrespective of the path of COVID-19 and its impact on short term death rates.

All five of these performance drivers were evident in our third quarter and year to date results and provide the basis for our higher expected operational and financial performance as outlined in the updated Roughly Right Range Scenario:

  • Increased Cemetery Preneed Property Sales leading to higher Cemetery Revenue growth rates at Record and Sustainable Cemetery Field EBITDA Margins;

  • Continuation of local market share gains across our funeral home portfolio;

  • Growth in Average Revenue per Funeral Contract, particularly Cremation contracts;

  • Incremental Growth of Financial Revenue and Financial EBITDA; and

  • Higher Returns on Invested Capital from continued disciplined capital allocation combined with a lower Cost of Capital from lower interest expense due to senior note refinancing completed in the second quarter.

The updated and increased Rolling Four Quarter Outlook and Roughly Right Range Two Year Scenario represent our best and realistic expectations of our performance through the end of next year. The increased expectations for future performance include the full effect of lower annual interest costs ($9.5 million) from our senior note refinancing and a continuation of our share repurchase program equal to about 75% of our Adjusted Free Cash Flow through the end of 2022 conditioned on the market price of our shares remaining highly discounted to our opinion of intrinsic value per share. As part of our year end 2021 earnings release early next year, we intend to provide an updated Roughly Right Range Three Year Scenario ending in 2024 with three different Capital Allocation Scenarios and associated Roughly Right Ranges for our opinion of CSV’s Intrinsic Value Per Share in each of the three Capital Allocation Scenarios for each of the three years ending 2024.

UPDATED ROLLING FOUR QUARTER OUTLOOK / TWO YEAR ROUGHLY RIGHT SCENARIO

Performance Metric

2019A

2020A

LTM

2021

RFQO

2022

3 Year
Midpoint
CAGR

Total Revenue

$274.1

$329.4

$370.0

$370 - $375

$375 - $385

$380 - $390

12.0%

Total Field EBITDA

$109.8

$141.9

$171.8

$172 - $177

$178 - $184

$180 - $186

18.6%

Total Field EBITDA Margin

40.0%

43.1%

46.4%

46% - 47%

46.5% - 47.5%

46.5% - 47.5%

5.5%

Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA

$76.6

$104.3

$124.1

$124 - $127

$126 - $132

$128 - $134

19.6%

Adj. Consol. EBITDA Margin

27.9%

31.6%

33.5%

33.5% - 34.0%

33.5% - 34.5%

33.5% - 34.5%

6.8%

Adjusted Diluted EPS

$1.25

$1.86

$2.84

$3.03 - $3.08 $3.08

$3.30 - $3.40

$3.50 - $3.60

41.6%

Diluted Shares Outstanding

18.0

18.1

18.4

18.1

17.0

16.5

(2.9%)

Adjusted Proforma(1) Diluted EPS

N/A

N/A

$3.36

$3.45 - $3.55

$3.55 - $3.65

$3.75 - $3.85

44.9%

Proforma(1) Diluted Shares Outstanding

N/A

N/A

16.885

16.3

16.0

15.5

(4.9%)

Adjusted Free Cash Flow

$38.8

$70.0

$77.2

$77 - $82

$80 - $85

$82 - $87

29.6%

Adjusted FCF Margin

14.2%

21.2%

20.9%

20.5% - 21.5%

20.5% - 21.5%

21% - 22%

14.8%

Total Debt Outstanding

$534(2)

$461.1

$497.6

$520 - $530

$530 - $540

$540 - $550

0.9%

Total Debt to EBITDA Multiple

7.0(3)

4.4

4.0

3.9 - 4.1

3.9 - 4.1

3.9 - 4.1

N/A


(1)

Proforma lower interest impact of recent refinancing effective as of January 1, 2021 (pre-tax lower interest cost of $4.0 million for the first half 2021) and Non-GAAP Proforma Diluted Shares Outstanding of 16.885 million as of September 30, 2021. Non-GAAP Diluted Shares Outstanding includes 16.65 Basic Shares Outstanding plus .235 million vested equity options and excludes .512 million shares from in the money and vested shares related to Carriage’s Five Year Good To Great Shareholder Value Creation Incentive Plan.

(2)

January 3, 2020 acquisition of Oakmont Memorial Park & Mortuary and peak debt.

(3)

Does not include proforma EBITDA for acquisitions.


INCREASED ROUGHLY RIGHT RANGE OF INTRINSIC VALUE PER SHARE

Beginning with our press release announcing the completion of our $400 million senior note refinancing transaction on May 13 and again in our second quarter press release on July 27, we have introduced and subsequently updated our opinion of the Roughly Right Range of the Intrinsic Value Per CSV share using a valuation methodology of Free Cash Flow Equity Yield. We view Free Cash Flow Yield as the most appropriate valuation methodology given our ability to produce and sustain a high amount of Free Cash Flow per every dollar of Revenue (21% Adjusted Free Cash Flow Margin) and our ability to invest that Free Cash Flow at high rates of return on invested capital to accelerate the growth in our intrinsic value.

With the completion of our senior note refinancing in May 2021, our weighted average cost of capital was reduced by 100 basis points from 7.4% to 6.4% due to the 237.5 basis point decrease in the interest rate on our new senior notes to 4.25% annually. To calculate our Roughly Right Range basis for Intrinsic Value we have used a Free Cash Flow Equity Yield using 6.4% - 7.4% discount rates which we view as appropriate given our recurring and growing Free Cash Flow and the persistent low interest rate environment globally.

To calculate our updated Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value Per CSV Share we used the 16.885 million Proforma Diluted Shares Outstanding as of September 30 which includes the full impact of our year to date share repurchases (1.53 million) and the in the money and vested options (235,000), but excludes the vested but not available to participants shares of our Five Year Good To Great II Shareholder Value Creation Incentive Plan (511,614) ending in 2024 with shares to be delivered in early 2025 to participants still employed at least in their current roles.

Using our $81.2 million of ProForma Adjusted Free Cash Flow we produced over the past twelve months and applying our Free Cash Flow Equity Yield discount rate range of 6.4% to 7.4% which equals an equity market capitalization range of $1,097.3 million to $1,268.8 million. Dividing this equity market capitalization by our Proforma Diluted Shares Outstanding equals an Intrinsic Value Per Share Range of $64.99 - $75.14 on a trailing twelve month basis.

However we believe the most appropriate way to calculate our Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value is to use the mid-point of our Roughly Right Range Outlook for 2022 Adjusted Free Cash Flow of $84.5 million. Applying our Free Cash Flow Equity Yield Range of 6.4% - 7.4% discount rate would equal an equity market capitalization range of $1,141.9 million to $1,320.3 million. Dividing this equity market capitalization by our Proforma Diluted Shares of 16.885 million would equal an Intrinsic Value Per Share Range of $67.63 - $78.19. We are therefore increasing our Roughly Right Intrinsic Value Per Share Range to $65 - $75 which is a $10 or 16.7% increase from the second quarter and a $15 or 27.3% increase since we first introduced the Roughly Right Intrinsic Value Per CSV Share a little over five months ago.

We will continue to update this Roughly Right Range of Intrinsic Value Per CSV Share on a quarterly basis and will use it as an important part of our capital allocation strategy decision making process when weighing accretive share repurchases versus our other options.

CAPITAL ALLOCATION FRAMEWORK

In our second quarter release we outlined a more detailed capital allocation framework so investors could have a clear roadmap for how we intend to allocate our growing and recurring Free Cash Flow to grow the per share intrinsic value of CSV shares. Outlined below is our capital allocation framework with updates on each category on our progress in the third quarter and year to date:

  • Share Repurchases: We expect to prioritize open market share repurchases when our stock trades at a material discount of 10% or more compared to the bottom of the share price range of our publicly stated opinion of intrinsic value. Share repurchases will also be weighted versus near term larger strategic acquisition opportunities and our Net Debt to Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Leverage Ratio Policy.

    During the third quarter we repurchased 1,203,493 shares for $53.2 million equaling an average purchase price of $44.24 which brought our year to date share repurchase totals to 1,528,197 shares for $65.5 million at an average purchase price of $42.89. The 1,528,197 shares repurchased year to date represent approximately 8.5% of the shares outstanding prior to the start of our repurchase program earlier this year. As Mel previously discussed in his comments, the full impact of our year to date share repurchases and the reduction in actual shares available will be recognized in our reported GAAP diluted shares outstanding at the beginning of next year.

    The $42.89 average purchase price on shares repurchased year to date represents a 38.7% discount to the mid-point of our updated intrinsic value per CSV share of $70. Given the large and persistent discount of our market price, to our updated opinion of intrinsic value per share, we continue to view the repurchase of our shares as the highest and best use of our capital at this time.

    We are therefore excited to announce the authorization by our Board of an additional $75 million to our share repurchase program which, along with previously approved and available amounts, brings our total availability to approximately $85.1 million. The total availability under our share repurchase authorization is equal to approximately 11.0% of our current equity market capitalization.

  • Strategic Acquisitions: We plan to prioritize acquisitions of the best remaining independent funeral homes and cemetery businesses in large strategic growth markets conditioned on the return on invested capital substantially exceeding our cost of capital in the early years of integration and thereafter growing over the intermediate and long term. Our four large and transformative strategic acquisitions at the end of 2019 set a new and much higher standard for capital allocation and strategic growth criteria required for an acquisition candidate to join our portfolio of Being The Best businesses.

    As Steve mentioned in his comments, we believe that Carriage has never been better positioned to partner with the best remaining independent funeral homes and cemeteries in the country, and that over the next 3-5 years we will have a significant number of high quality opportunities to grow through selective acquisitions. We intend to remain highly disciplined and strategic in our allocation of capital towards acquisitions in order to ensure a long term annual ROIC of 15% or more on acquired businesses.

  • Internal Growth Projects: Our internal growth capital expenditures will be focused on differentiated cemetery inventory development, targeted funeral home remodels and selective construction of new funeral homes in high growth markets to expand strong local brands of existing Carriage businesses.

    We have allocated $15.3 million towards capital expenditures in 2021 split between $9.0 million of maintenance capital expenditures and $6.3 million of growth capital expenditures. The majority of our growth capital expenditures have been cemetery inventory development projects as well as selective funeral home remodels. We continue to be excited about the number of organic growth opportunities across our entire portfolio and will continue to focus on those projects that deliver the highest ROIC over the long term.

  • Dividends: Annual dividend to approximate 10% of Adjusted Free Cash Flow and a 1% dividend equity yield on CSV shares. We are pleased to announce that our Board has authorized a $0.05 per share increase to our annual dividend to bring our total annual dividend amount to $0.45 per CSV share. This increase aligns perfectly to our previously announce dividend policy and represents our commitment to a balanced approach to capital allocation strategy that will drive superior long term shareholder returns.

    Relatedly, on October 27, 2021, our Board declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.1125 per share of common stock, reflecting this most recent dividend increase, payable on December 1, 2021 to stockholders of record as of close of business on November 9, 2021.

  • Debt Repayment: We expect to maintain a moderate Net Debt to Adjusted Consolidated EBITDA Leverage Ratio of 4 times or less, most likely meaning that our total debt will remain relatively flat while Free Cash Flow is allocated to higher ROIC growth opportunities to accelerate intrinsic value per share.

    While total debt increased approximately $26.2 million in the third quarter due to the execution of our share repurchase program, our Bank Covenant Compliance Leverage Ratio remained e...


ADJUSTED FREE CASH FLOW AND LEVERAGE RATIO

Nine Months Ended September 30,