January 16, 2008 - Hillenbrand Industries Inc. said today it filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that should separate Hillenbrand’s two operating companies, Hill-Rom, the company’s medical technology business, and Batesville Casket, the company’s death care business, by March 31, 2008.
The company filed the first amendment to the Batesville Holdings Inc. Form 10 registration statement with the SEC related to the previously announced separation of Hill-Rom and Batesville Casket.
In connection with the filing, after discussions with the staff of the SEC, Hillenbrand concluded that Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 5, Accounting for Contingencies, with which the company currently complies in accounting for antitrust litigation pending against Hillenbrand, its Batesville Casket Company subsidiary and three unrelated national funeral home businesses, is an acceptable post separation accounting treatment for a judgment sharing agreement that will apportion responsibility between Hillenbrand's separated companies for any potential damages associated with that litigation.
“We are pleased to take this next step toward the separation of the two companies and provide further clarity on our separation timetable,” said Peter H. Soderberg, president of Hillenbrand and Hill-Rom. “Our Board and our management believe that separation of the two companies is the best way to unlock value and allow each company to focus on accelerating growth in their respective industries.”
Hillenbrand’s Board and management believe that by operating independently, each company can adopt an appropriate capital structure to allow it to better execute its business plans. The separation would also allow each company to utilize its own equity as currency for strategic purposes.
Regarding the antitrust litigation, neither Hillenbrand nor Batesville Casket believes it has committed any wrongdoing as alleged in the lawsuits.
The separation still remains subject to the final approval of the company’s Board of Directors, the effectiveness of the Form 10 registration statement with the SEC, completion of necessary debt refinancing and other customary conditions.