Service Corporation International (SCI) is the largest provider of funeral, cremation and cemetery services in North America. The corporation, founded by Robert L. Waltrip in 1962, has grown by leaps and bounds through the acquisitions of its competitors. However, during the 1990s, it began to slow its growth, largely because of the devaluation of its stock. By 1999, SCI was losing money left and right, despite analysts' predictions of success. That year, the firm focused on reducing overhead in an effort to boost its flagging stock price. Its tagline, Dignity, can be seen on most of the buildings it operates.

In addition to reducing costs, the company must also focus on "pre-need sales" in order to increase cash flow. As the name suggests, pre-need sales bring the money in today, rather than sometime in the future. By planning your funeral ahead of time, SCI gets cash while you try for peace, knowing that your family will have one less thing to worry about when you kick the bucket.

The stock may soon see growth at a reasonable price, because as everyone knows, people are just dying to be SCI's customers...

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