Oakridge Holdings, Inc (OKRG) - Description of business


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Company Description
GENERAL

Oakridge Holdings, inc. and its subsidiaries, collectively, are called the "Company" or "Oakridge," and all references to "our," "us" and "we" refer to Oakridge Holdings, Inc. and its subsidiaries, collectively, unless the context otherwise requires. The Company has two business segments - cemeteries and aviation ground support equipment.

The Company was incorporated as a Minnesota corporation in 1961 and began operations on March 6, 1961, with two cemeteries in Cook County, Illinois, selling cemetery property, merchandise and service. Cemetery property includes lots, lawn crypts, and family and community mausoleums. Cemetery merchandise includes vaults, monuments and markers. Cemetery services include burial site openings and closings and inscriptions.

The Cemeteries that we operate are located outside of Chicago, Illinois. According to the United States Bureau of the Census, this area has a large population over age 50, which represents a principal target market for our pre-need sales program as well as at need sales.

We believe the sale of cemetery property to a family creates a relationship that builds heritage over time, as family members are buried in a plot or mausoleum and as other family members purchase additional cemetery property in order to be buried in the same cemetery.

On June 29, 1998, the Company acquired substantially all of the assets of Stinar Corporation, a Minnesota corporation. Stinar Corporation has been in business for 60 years and is an established international manufacturer, and its products are used by the airline support equipment industry.

Stinar is a global manufacturer of ground support equipment for the aviation industry which is used for servicing, loading, and maintaining all types of aircraft for both commercial and government aviation companies, and airports. These products are sold and marketed through our own technically oriented sales staff as well as through independent distributors and sales representatives. Approximately 71% of Stinar's revenues in the year ended June 30, 2006, were generated by contracts with the U.S. military. The majority of the sales was for a bobtail contract which expired during May 2006.

All references to years are to fiscal years ended June 30 unless otherwise stated.

CEMETERY OPERATIONS OVERVIEW

Through two wholly owned subsidiaries, Oakridge Cemetery (Hillside), Inc. and Glen Oak Cemetery, Inc., the Company operates two adjacent cemeteries in Hillside, Illinois. The cemetery operations are discussed on a consolidated basis, and the Company makes no functional distinction between the two cemeteries, except where noted.

Together the cemeteries comprise 176.7 total acres of real estate, of which 12.8 acres are used for interior roads and other improvements. The remaining 163.9 acres contain 137,000 burial plots of which 29,825 are in inventory, with 975 niches and 3,190 crypts, of which 115 niches and 304 crypts were in inventory. The Company estimates that it has an inventory of cemetery and mausoleum spaces representing between a 20- and 30-year supply, based on the maintenance of current sales and annual usage levels. This inventory is considered adequate for the foreseeable future, and the Company is presently developing a plan of adding more niches and crypts in the future. In addition to providing interment services, burial plots and crypts, the Company sells cremation services and has a chapel in the Mausoleum.

CEMETERY INDUSTRY

Cemetery companies provide products and services to families in two principal areas: (i) disposition of remains, either through burial or cremation; and (ii) memorialization, generally through monuments, markers or inscriptions. The cemetery industry in the United States is characterized by the following fundamental attributes:

OVERVIEW: The United States death care industry is estimated to have generated approximately $13 billion of revenue in 2003, of which small family-owned businesses represent approximately 80%. During most of the 1990's, there was a trend of family-owned businesses consolidating with larger organizations. However, this trend slowed in the late 1990's and the industry continues to be characterized by a larger number of locally- owned, independent operations. There are approximately 10,500 cemeteries in the United States. The market share of a single cemetery in any community is a function of the name, reputation, and location of the cemetery, although competitive pricing, professional service and attention, and well-maintained grounds is important.

HERITAGE AND TRADITION. Cemetery businesses have traditionally been transferred to successive generations within a family and in most cases have developed a local heritage and tradition that afford an established cemetery a local franchise and provide the opportunity for repeat business. In addition, an established firm's backlog of pre-need cemetery and mausoleum spaces provides a base of future revenue. In many cases, personnel who have left public companies start these new independent businesses or family owned businesses. Often, such businesses are attempting to build market share by competing on price rather than heritage and tradition.

NEED FOR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES; INCREASING NUMBER OF DEATHS. There is an inevitable need for our products and services. Although the number of deaths in the United States will reflect short-term fluctuations, deaths in the United States are expected to increase at a steady pace over the long term as the baby boom generation becomes older. According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the number of deaths in the United States is expected to increase from approximately 2.4 million in 2003 to 2.6 million in 2010. Moreover, the average age of the population in the United States is increasing. According to the United States Bureau of the Census, the United States population of 50 years of age is expected to increase from 76.1 million in 2000 to 97.1 million in 2010. The Company believes that the aging of the population is particularly important because it expands the Company's target market for pre-need services and merchandise as older persons, especially those over 50 years of age, are most likely to make pre- need cemetery arrangements.

PRE-NEED MARKETING. In addition to sales at the time of death or on an "at need" basis, death care products and services are being sold prior to the time of death or on a "pre-need" basis. We are actively marketing such products and services, which provide a backlog of future services.

DEMAND FOR CREMATION. In recent years, there has been a steady growth in the number of families in the United States that have chosen cremation as an alternative to tradional methods of burial. According to industry studies, cremations represent approximately 10% of the burial market in 1980, approximately 29% in 2003, and are projected at 40% for 2010. According to the latest industry studies available, cremations will increase by approximately 1% annually from 2004 to 2010. The trend toward cremations has been a significant concern because cremations have typically included few, if any, additional products and services other than cremation itself. In addition, almost all funeral homes in the Chicago area now provide basic cremation services and they provide a full range of merchandise and services to families choosing cremation. This trend of increasing cremations is expected to continue into the future.

INDUSTRY CONSOLIDATION. The past decade witnessed a trend of family owned businesses consolidating with larger organizations. Primarily public companies sought to benefit from economies of scale, improved managerial control, and effective strategic planning and greater financial resources.

IMPORTANCE OF TRADITION; BARRIERS TO ENTRY. We believe it is difficult for new competitors to enter existing markets successfully by opening new cemeteries. Entry into the cemetery market can be difficult due to several factors. Because families tend to return to the same cemetery for multiple generations to bury family members, it is difficult for new cemeteries to attract families. Additionally, mature markets, including the metropolitan area where our cemeteries are located, are served by an adequate number of existing cemeteries with sufficient land for additional plots, whereas land for new cemetery development is often scarce and expensive. Regulatory complexities and zoning restrictions also make entry into the cemetery market difficult. Also, development of a new cemetery usually requires a significant capital investment that takes several years to produce a return.

RISKS RELATED TO THE CEMETERY:

To compete successfully, the cemetery companies must maintain good reputations and high professional standards in the industry as well as offer attractive products and services at competitive prices. In addition, the Company must market itself in such a manner as to distinguish itself from its competitors. Cemeteries have historically experienced price competition from independent and large public company cemeteries, and from monument dealers, and other non-traditional companies of services and products. The intense competition the Company faces may, at some time in the future, require the Company to reduce prices (and thereby its profit margins) to retain or recapture market share. If the Company is unable to successfully compete, its financial condition, results of operations and cash flows could be materially and adversely affected.

The Company's investments held in trust are invested in securities, which could be affected by financial market conditions that are beyond its control.

The Company's revenue is impacted by the land trusts' net realized interest income, which the Company recognizes to the extent of allowed reimbursement received monthly, which is used to perform cemetery maintenance services. The level of trust income is largely dependent on yields on trust investments made with trust funds, which are subject to financial market conditions and other factors that are beyond the Company's control. Trust earnings are also affected by the mix of fixed income and equity securities the trustee chooses to maintain in the trust funds, and the trustee may not choose the optimal mix for any particular market condition. If earnings from the trust decline, the Company would likely experience a decline in future revenue and cash flow. In addition, if the trust funds experienced significant investment losses, there would likely be insufficient funds in the trusts to cover costs of delivering services and merchandise or maintain the grounds of the cemeteries in the future. The Company would have to cover any such shortfalls with cash flow from operations, which could adversely affect its ability to service debt.

The level of pre-need sales is dependent upon the size and experience of the Company's sale force. The Company cannot assure that it will continue to be successful in recruiting and retaining qualified sales personal. In addition, depending on the terms of the contract, pre-need sales have the potential to have an initial negative impact on cash flows because of commissions paid on the sales and the portion of the sales proceeds required to be placed into the trust. A weakening economy that causes customer families to have less discretionary income could cause a decline in pre-need sales.

Declines in the number of deaths in the Chicago market can cause a decrease in revenues. Changes in the number of deaths are not predictable from one month to the next or over a short term.

The costs of operating and maintaining its facilities, land and equipment, regardless of the number of interments performed, are fixed. Because the Company cannot necessarily decrease the costs when it experiences lower sales volumes, a decline in sales may cause gross margins, profits and cash flows to decline at a greater rate than a decline in revenue.

STINAR OPERATIONS OVERVIEW

Stinar provides products and services to the aviation industry in three principal areas: (i) sales of new equipment manufactured for maintaining, servicing and loading of airplanes; (ii) sales of parts for equipment sold in the past; and (iii) repair of equipment.

Principal products of Stinar include the following: Truck-mounted stairways and push stairs for loading aircraft; lavatory trucks and carts, water trucks, bobtails, and catering trucks for servicing aircraft; cabin cleaning trucks, maintenance hi-lifts, and turbo oilers for maintaining aircraft; and other custom built aviation ground support equipment used by airports, airlines and the military. Stinar also provides service and repairs on other vendors' equipment and equipment it has sold.

Stinar sells its products to airports, airlines, and government and military customers in the United States. Non-governmental domestic sales comprise approximately 15%, government and military sales approximately 71%, and international sales approximately 14% of Stinar's annual revenues. As discussed above, the future mix of Stinar revenues will be affected by the non-renewal of the bobtail contract which expired on May 30, 2006.

The Company purchases carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum and chassis domestically. We do not use single-source suppliers for the majority of our raw material purchases and believe supplies of raw material available in the market are adequate to meet our needs.

We are engaged in research and development activities directed primarily toward the improvement of existing products, the design of specialized products to meet specific customer needs, and the development of new products and processes. A large part of our product development spending in the past has focused on the standardization of our product lines. With standardized products, we can minimize engineering content, improve inventory utilization, and reduce cost through value engineering.

AVIATION GROUND SUPPORT INDUSTRY

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS

Contracts with the U.S. government are subject to special laws and regulations, noncompliance with which could result in various sanctions.

The aviation ground support industry internationally is characterized by the following fundamental attributes:

HIGHLY FRAGMENTED OWNERSHIP. A significant majority of aviation ground support equipment manufacturers consist of family-owned businesses. Management estimates that there are approximately 20 companies in the world that manufacture one or two products for the industry. Also, as a support industry, ground support equipment has few market drivers of its own. That is, the major determinants of ground support equipment market activity are to be found in the commercial aviation industry. Under these conditions, many suppliers have in-depth knowledge only of their own market niches, and end-users may have difficulty finding a supplier with the right mix of products and services to fit their needs.

SIZE AND GROWTH TRENDS. The aviation ground support industry will be taking on the characteristics of a shrinking and declining industry over the next couple of years. Given the weakness of the four main indicators (aircraft movements, aircraft delivery rates, price of fuel and airport construction/capacity improvement) of the industry's health, as well as the continuing decline in markets for import and export, the world market for purchases of new aviation ground support equipment is expected to decline drastically due to most airlines downsizing operations and many large domestic carriers filing for bankruptcy protection.

BARRIERS TO ENTRY. It is relatively difficult for new competitors to enter the field due to (i) high start-up costs, which effectively protect against small competitors entering the field, (ii) substantial expertise required with regard to manufacturing and engineering difficulties, which makes it difficult to have the knowledge to compete, and (iii) market saturation, which reduces the possibility of competitors gaining a meaningful foothold and network of manufacturing representatives. Moreover, airline companies are becoming increasingly selective about which companies they will allow to provide ground support equipment. Most airlines only purchase from vendors who have a history in the industry.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION ABOUT INDUSTRY SEGMENTS

The following table summarizes the assets, revenues and operating profit or loss attributable to the Company's two industry segments for the date and periods indicated. The term "operating profit (loss)" represents revenues less all operating expenses. Management evaluates the performance of the Company's business segments and allocates resources to them based on operating profit or loss. Operating expenses of a business segment do not include corporate interest expense, corporate income or expense, or taxes on income. Other financial information about the Company's business segments appears in Item 6, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and in Item 7, Financial Statements.

For the fiscal years ended June 30, 2006 2005

Revenues: (1) Aviation $12,991,069 $14,175,821 (2) Cemetery 2,705,499 2,660,494

Operating profit: (1) Aviation $411,502 $285,699 (2) Cemetery 123,643 84,139

Identifiable assets: (1) Aviation $6,488,480 $8,043,302 (2) Cemetery 11,325,598 10,792,765

REGULATION

CEMETERY OPERATIONS

The Company is regulated primarily on a state level, with the state requiring licensing for cremations. The states regulate the sale of pre- need services and the administration of any resulting trusts. The laws are complex, are subject to interpretations by regulators, and are subject to change from time to time. Non-compliance with these regulations can result in fines or suspension of licenses required to sell pre-need services and merchandise.

The Company's operation must comply with federal legislation, including the laws administrated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") regulations.

The Company's operations are subject to numerous environmental laws, regulations and guidelines adopted by various governmental authorities.

The Company believes that it complies in all material respects with the provisions of the laws and regulations under which it operates. There are no material regulatory actions pending.

STINAR OPERATIONS

Stinar is required to comply with competitive bidding and other requirements in cases where it sells to local, state, or federal governmental customers. The costs and effects of complying with these requirements do not have a material impact on the financial results of the Company.

BOTH COMPANIES

The Company holds all governmental licenses necessary to carry on its business, and all such licenses are current. Both segments are subject to the requirements of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act ("OSHA") and comparable state statutes. The OSHA hazard communication standard, the Unites States Environmental Protection Agency community right-to-know regulations under Title III of the federal Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act, and similar state statutes require us to organize information about hazardous materials used or produced in our operations. Certain of this information must be provided to employees, state and local governmental authorities, and local citizens.

COMPLIANCE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS

CEMETERY OPERATIONS. The Company's operations are subject to numerous environmental laws, regulations and guidelines adopted by various governmental authorities in the state of Illinois and Cook County. On a continuing basis, management business practices are designed to assess and evaluate environmental risks and, when necessary, conduct appropriate corrective measures. Liabilities are recorded when known or considered probable and reasonably estimable.

The Company provides for environmental liabilities using its best estimates, but actual environmental liabilities could differ significantly from these estimates.

STINAR CORPORATION. Stinar owns a 43,271 square foot manufacturing facility located on approximately 7.875 acres of land (the "Stinar Facility") in an industrial park in Eagan, Minnesota, a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Prior to the acquisition of the Stinar Facility, Stinar and the Company obtained a Phase I environmental assessment of the Stinar Facility. This Phase I environmental assessment suggested the need for additional study of the Stinar Facility. In addition, the Phase I assessment suggested that certain structural improvements be made to the Stinar Facility. Accordingly, two additional Phase II environmental assessments were performed and revealed the presence of certain contaminants in the soil around and under the building located on the Stinar facility.

Subsequent to the completion of the Phase II environmental assessments and completion of the structural improvements to the building, the Company and Stinar requested and obtained a "no association" letter from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency ("MPCA") stating that, provided that certain conditions set forth in the no association letter are met, the Company and Stinar will not be deemed responsible for contamination which occurred at the Stinar Facility prior to the purchase of the assets of Stinar by the Company. The structural improvements recommended by the Company's environmental consulting firm have been completed, and the contaminated soil has been removed and transferred from the property. As a result, MPCA has issued the no association letter.

CEMETERY OPERATIONS - TRUST FUNDS

GENERAL. We have established a variety of trusts in connection with our cemetery operations as required under applicable state law. Such trusts include (i) pre-need cemetery merchandise and service trusts; and (ii) perpetual care trusts. We also use independent financial advisors to consult with us on investment policies and evaluate investment results.

PRE-NEED CEMETERY MERCHANDISE AND SERVICE TRUSTS. We are generally required under Illinois law to deposit a specified amount(generally 50% to 85% of selling price)into a merchandise and service trust fund for cemetery merchandise and services sold in pre-need sales. The related trust fund income earned is recognized when the related merchandise and services are delivered. We are permitted to withdraw the trust principal and the accrued income when the merchandise is purchased, when the service is provided by us, or when the contract is cancelled.

PERPETUAL CARE FUNDS. Under Illinois law, the Company is required to place a portion of all sales proceeds from cemetery lots, niches and crypts in a trust fund for perpetual care of the cemeteries. Pursuant to these laws, the Company deposits 15% of the revenues from the sale of grave spaces and 10% of revenues from the sale of mausoleum space into a perpetual care fund. The income from these perpetual care trusts provides the funds necessary to maintain cemetery property and memorials in perpetuity. The trust fund income is recognized, as earned, in the cemetery revenues. While we are entitled to withdraw the income from our perpetual care trust to provide for the maintenance of the cemetery property and memorials, we are not entitled to withdraw any of the principal balance of the trust fund and, therefore, the principal balance is reflected on the Company's balance sheet.

COMPETITION

Competitive success in Oakridge's business segments includes price, service, location, quality and technological innovation. Competition is strong in all markets served.

CEMETERY OPERATIONS. The Cemetery Operations face competition with other cemeteries in Cook and DuPage Counties in Illinois. Competitive factors in the cemetery business are primarily predicated on location, convenience, service, and heritage. Decisions made by customers are only minimally influenced, if at all, by pricing. But funeral directors are greatly influenced by pricing, due to the limited resources of some customers, and they direct families to lower cost cemeteries. There are virtually no new entrants in the markets served by the Company as the cost of acquiring sufficient undeveloped land and establishing a market presence necessary to commence operations is prohibitive.

There has been increasing competition from providers specializing in specific services, such as cremations, who offer minimal services and low- end pricing. We also face competition from companies that market products and related information over the internet and funeral homes selling markers. We have felt relatively limited impact in our market from those competitors to date.

STINAR CORPORATION. The aviation ground support equipment business is extremely fragmented and diverse. The purchasers of the types of equipment manufactured by Stinar tend to be long-standing, repeat customers of the same manufacturers, with quality, reliability, pricing, warranties, after market service and delivery being the key factors cited by customers in selecting an aviation ground support equipment supplier. Accordingly, while the market for Stinar equipment is competitive, the Company believes that Stinar's reputation for quality and reliable equipment and the industry's familiarity with Stinar puts it on equal footing with its competitors. Major domestic competitors include Global Ground Support, LLC in catering equipment; Lift-A-Loft Corporation and NMC-Wollard in passenger stairs; Lift-A-Loft Corporation, NMC-Wollard and Phoenix Metal Products in lavatory and water carts; and Tesco Equipment Corporation, Lift-A-Loft corporation and NMC-Wollard in hi-lift equipment. International competitors include Mullaghan Engineering in catering equipment, and Accessair Systems, Inc. and Vestergaard Company, Inc. in water and lavatory carts.

MARKETING

CEMETERY OPERATIONS. Sales are made to customers utilizing the facilities primarily on an at-need basis; that is, on the occurrence of a death in the family when the products and services and interment space are sold to the relatives of the deceased. The cemeteries have started to actively market their products. But most customers typically learn of the cemeteries from satisfied customers and funeral directors who recommend the cemeteries based on superior location and services rendered.

STINAR CORPORATION. The chief method of marketing Stinar's equipment is through one-on-one customer contact made by sales employees of Stinar and manufacturers' representatives under contract with Stinar. Stinar's customers report that Stinar has a reputation in the commercial aviation industry for manufacturing high-quality, reliable equipment. Stinar intends to capitalize on this reputation in the domestic airline industry by making frequent sales calls on customers and potential customers and by reducing the amount of time needed to complete customer orders. Stinar has also engaged manufacturers' representatives to assist it in increasing sales to overseas markets and the United States armed services.

CREDIT POLICIES

Neither of the Company's business segments generally extends long-term credit to customers.

INTERNATIONAL

Stinar's sales to customers outside the United States represented approximately 14% and 25% of the companies net sales in 2006 and 2005, respectively. Products are manufactured and marketed through the Company's sales department and sales representatives around the world. For additional information, see discussions of individual business segments included above under Item 6, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and in Item 7, Financial Statements.

OTHER BUSINESS INFLUENCES

CEMETERY OPERATIONS. The Cemetery Operations do not experience seasonal fluctuations, nor are they dependent upon any identifiable group of customers, the loss of which would have a material adverse effect on its business, and discussion of backlog is not material to any understanding of Company's business.

STINAR CORPORATION. The Company believes that its business is highly dependent upon the profitability of its customers in the airline and air cargo markets, and therefore the Company's profitability is affected by fluctuations in passenger and freight traffic and volatility of operating expenses, including the impact of costs related to labor, fuel and airline security. Sales to the United States government also expose Stinar to government spending cuts. The United States Air Force, a major purchaser of the Company's equipment, is dependent upon governmental funding approvals. Changes in significant raw material prices, such as steel and chassis, will also continue to impact our results.

The diversity of Stinar's customer base and equipment lines does help mitigate these risks, as does the growing importance of marketing internationally, which provides Stinar with an additional customer base not influenced as greatly by U.S. economic conditions or U.S. politics. We will also focus on key risk factors when determining our overall strategy and making decisions for allocating capital. These factors include risks associated with the global economic outlook, product obsolescence, and the competitive environment.

The Company does not believe that the present overall rate of inflation will have a significant impact on the business segments in which it operates.

EMPLOYEES

As of June 30, 2006, the Company had 65 full-time and 11 part-time or seasonal employees. Of these, the Company employed 48 full-time and 3 part- time employees in the aviation segment and 17 full-time and 8 part-time or seasonal employees in the cemeteries segment.

The cemetery segment employees are represented by Local #1 of the Services Employees International Union, AFL-CIO, whose contract expires February 28, 2010.

A union does not represent the aviation segment employees, and the Company considers its labor relations to be good.

REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT

APPLE VALLEY, CALIFORNIA RAW LAND

On May 22, 2000, the Company acquired 4.5 acres of unimproved land in Apple Valley, California in exchange for a partial settlement of the judgment against the former chairman of the board. The appraised value of the land was $140,000, with the Company contributing $37,527. At June 30, 2001, the market value of the land was written down $90,000 due to economic conditions. The land was sold on April 13, 2006, for $325,000, with related selling costs of $28,321, and the Company gained $246,679 on the sale.

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