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BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) has begun exploring “strategic alternatives” for its Batesville business, the company announced Wednesday.

Batesville manufactures burial and cremation products and also provides business and technology services for funeral professionals.

In 2019, Hillenbrand officials told IBJ that Batesville accounted for about one-quarter of the corporation’s sales and 40% of its cash flow. However, trends toward cremation were slowly shrinking sales.

Hillenbrand did not provide specific details on what the alternatives for Batesville would be. In a news release, the company said, “There can be no assurance that the process will result in any transaction for Batesville or that any transaction, if pursued, will be consummated.”

Chief Executive Officer Kim Ryan says the move is a “defining moment” for the company and builds on the work that has been done to position Batesville for success.

“Batesville has been a recognized leader in the death care industry for more than 115 years because of its exceptional quality, innovation, and customer service,” said Ryan. “Through this process, we are focused on determining the best path to benefit Batesville, its stakeholders, and Hillenbrand.”

Hillenbrand says it does not intend to provide additional information on the plan for Batesville until the process is completed or terminated.

Batesville was founded in 1884 as the Batesville Coffin Company. It was acquired in 1906 by John Hillenbrand and renamed the Batesville Casket Company.

Hillenbrand also announced Wednesday it has signed a binding offer to acquire France-based LINXIS Group in a deal valued at $585 million.

LINXIS specializes in the design, manufacturing, and service of dosing, kneading, mixing, granulating, drying and coating automaton equipment that serves the food industry, as well as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and chemicals, according to its website.

The two companies are expected to enter a definitive purchase agreement, with the acquisition set to close before the end of the year, pending regulatory approval.

Hillenbrand says when the deal closes, LINXIS Group and its more than 1,000 employees will join its Coperion and Rotex brands, which are part of Hillenbrand’s Advanced Process Solutions segment.

Hillenbrand is the 18th largest public company in Indiana with $2.9 billion in revenue and $4 billion in assets in 2021, according to IBJ research.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — An Indianapolis-based manufacturer of LED lighting fixtures is expanding operations to Ripley County. IKIO LED Lighting LLC says it will invest $25 million to establish a manufacturing and warehousing facility in the Batesville Industrial Park and create 30 jobs over the next five years.

The city of Batesville says the company will begin work on the interior of an existing shell building at the industrial park that will include nearly 48,000 square feet of warehouse space and about 2,600 square feet of office space. That portion of the project is expected to be complete within 12 months.

The company will also construct a new manufacturing space that will produce LED lights and solar systems for both industrial and household lighting purposes. Construction is expected to take about two years to complete.

“We at IKIO are very excited for this next chapter in our organization’s growth as we start manufacturing our products in the United States,” IKIO Chief Executive Officer Ekamdeep Singh said in written remarks. “We are thankful to the City of Batesville and all the other parties that made this project possible. We certainly look forward to growing the relationship.”

IKIO makes LED lighting fixtures for a variety of markets, including commercial, industrial, horticulture, multi-family residential/hospitality, hazardous location and solar outdoor lighting. The company currently has six manufacturing facilities.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered IKIO up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits, which the company will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs.

The city says it still has four sites available for development in the Batesville Industrial Park.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) in Batesville is partnering with California-based nonprofit Net Impact to launch a case competition designed to boost innovation and sustainability in plastics. The 2022 Plastics & Circularity Case Competition will be open to the more than 130,000 Net Impact members to figure out “how we can further shape the responsible life cycle management of plastics.” Hillenbrand CEO Kim Ryan says the project creates a great opportunity to collaborate with students and businesses in a way that could be replicated for years to come.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Ryan said plastics play a major role in the machinery manufacturing and processing company’s operation.

“Much of the end markets that we serve are in the area of plastics. So, we really want to be on both ends of both the creation and the reuse of plastics,” Ryan said. “And so, this is a really unique opportunity for us to take our capabilities and really apply them to both sides of the equation because we think we have a role to play here in the future of material science and how those materials are processed on machinery like ours.”

Net Impact is a global nonprofit with more than 300 chapters at colleges, universities and local communities. The organization says its members include “students and emerging impact leaders who want to use their skills to make a positive impact for people and planet.”

Hillenbrand and Net Impact will spend the summer to build the case study, including the information provided to participants and the desired outcomes.

The competition will begin this fall and is open to all Net Impact members. It will continue through the fall semester as students work on case studies and interact with businesses interested in the topic before presenting their case studies at the end of the semester.

“Business can no longer focus solely on profits,” Net Impact CEO Peter Lupoff said in written remarks. “Business plans must prioritize environmental and social factors as well. The Plastics & Circularity Case Competition activates next generation leaders, in partnership with business, to solve one of our world’s most critical issues. Having a company with a reputation as an innovator like Hillenbrand to serve as a partner and mentor for this year’s participants should assure another exciting and effective program.”

Ryan says she hopes the competition leads to future projects with Net Impact on other topics.

“Right now, we’re focused on plastics circularity,” she said. “Maybe projects in the future are around how do we drive more efficient equipment or how do we drive more efficient manufacturing processes. The number of ideas that we have around the ways that this input and innovation could be really helpful to us and to other companies we collaborate with as we go forward is endless.”

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand says Robert VanHimbergen will become the company’s next chief financial officer. He succeeds Kristina Cerniglia, who is stepping down at the end of April after eight years with the company to “pursue other professional opportunities.”

VanHimbergen is the former vice president and corporate controller for Johnson Controls International (NYSE: JCI), an Ireland-based company with its North American headquarters located in Milwaukee.

During his 15-year tenure at Johnson Controls, VanHimbergen held multiple positions, including CFO of an automotive interiors business in China.

“With over two decades of global financial expertise and extensive global operations experience, we are excited to welcome Bob as Hillenbrand’s next CFO,” Hillenbrand Chief Executive Officer Kim Ryan said in written remarks. “Bob’s strategic leadership and M&A experience will be extremely valuable as Hillenbrand continues to execute its profitable growth strategy.”

The company says Cerniglia will remain as CFO through April 29. VanHimbergen will begin with Hillenbrand on Monday as executive vice president of finance and assume the role of CFO on April 30.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) has closed out fiscal year 2021 in what Chief Executive Officer Joe Raver calls a “great year.” The company is reporting full-year net income of $250 million, compared to a net loss of $60 million the prior year. Hillenbrand is also reporting fourth quarter net income of $55 million, compared to a $7 million loss during the same period a year ago.

“Fiscal 2021 was a great year for Hillenbrand, as we achieved record levels for order intake, revenue, earnings, and cash flow,” said Raver. “I am proud of the resiliency and dedication of our associates, as they executed at a high level throughout the year in the face of significant inflation, global supply chain disruptions, labor market shortages, and the continued impact from COVID-19.”

Raver, who will be retiring at the end of the year, says the company completed its portfolio simplification plan announced in August 2020. The plan included the divestiture of three subsidiaries, Red Valve, ABEL and TerraSource Global.

“We are well positioned to build upon our proven track record of execution as we head into fiscal 2022,” said Kim Ryan, Hillenbrand’s executive vice president and incoming CEO. “Our performance in fiscal 2021 was a testament to the talent of our people, the strength of the Hillenbrand Operating Model, and the trust our customers place in us. I am excited about the opportunities ahead.”

Hillenbrand says looking ahead to 2022, it expects supply chain disruptions, elevated transportation costs, and labor market shortages to persist through the majority of the fiscal year. It also expects commodity costs to remain elevated through at least the first half of the fiscal year.

Click here to view the full report.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) has completed the divestiture of its TerraSource Global business in a more than $25 million deal with Chicago-based industrial holding company Right Lane Industries. As a result of the deal, TerraSource and its subsidiaries have been consolidated into TerraSource Holdings LLC, with RLI holding majority ownership.

TerraSource is a St. Louis-based company that manufactures material handling, size reduction, screening and processing, pneumatic, and feeder equipment for a variety of industries. Under the terms of the agreement with RLI, Hillenbrand will retain an indirect 49% ownership of the newly-formed company.

“We are pleased to announce this transaction, which, in combination with two other divestitures earlier this year, represents a key strategic milestone achieved,” Joe Raver, chief executive officer of Hillenbrand, said in a news release. “Last year we announced our intention to streamline our portfolio and we have executed our plan, enabling greater focus on growing our platforms and delivering shareholder value.”

The agreement is Hillenbrand’s third divestiture this year, following deals for its Red Valve and Abel Pumps LP subsidiaries.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) has completed the sale of its Abel Pumps LP subsidiary to IDEX Corp. (NYSE: IEX) in Pittsburgh. The deal was valued at more than $130 million. 

The sale was first announced in January. Hillenbrand says it plans to use the proceeds from the sale to reduce debt and “reinvest in organic growth opportunities.”

“The ABEL divestiture is an important step in our strategy to streamline our portfolio, increase financial flexibility, and accelerate growth,” Joe Raver, chief executive officer of Hillenbrand, said in a news release. “The completion of the ABEL sale will help drive shareholder value and strengthen our key business platforms.”

Hillenbrand first acquired Abel Pumps, which was originally founded in Germany, in 2015 for more than $100 million.

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hillenbrand Inc. (NYSE: HI) says it has reached a deal to divest its Abel Pumps LP subsidiary to IDEX Corp. (NYSE: IEX) in Pittsburgh. The sale is valued at more than $103 million and remains subject to customary closing conditions.

The deal includes Abel Pumps “and certain of its affiliates,” according to Hillenbrand. Abel Pumps was originally founded in Germany and was acquired by Hillenbrand in 2015 for more than $100 million.

“We are pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement to sell ABEL, which is a key part of our ability to drive shareholder value and strengthen our key business platforms,” Joe Raver, chief executive officer of Hillenbrand, said in a news release. “The divestiture of ABEL follows the recent sale of Red Valve and, together, furthers the execution of our strategy to streamline our portfolio, increase financial flexibility, and accelerate growth.”

Hillenbrand says the sale is expected to be completed in the company’s second fiscal quarter. The company plans to use the proceeds from the same to reduce debt and “reinvest in organic growth and profitability opportunities.”

BATESVILLE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Batesville-based Hill-Rom Holdings Inc has secured a major contract from the U.S. Department of Defense. The $48M contract calls for medical equipment and accessories for the Defense Logistics Agency electronic catalog.

Hill-Rom was one of 135 bids submitted for the five-year contract. All work will be done in Batesville for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

The contracting activity is the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 

BATESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — A 32-year-old was identified Wednesday as the man who died after he was fired upon by state police troopers and a Greensburg police officer on Monday.

Indiana State Police said the man was identified as Joshua D. Evans.

The names of the involved officers were not being released Wednesday.

Batesville police were called to a report of Evans acting irrationally about 8 a.m. Monday at his home on Bridlewood Trace Road, which is in Franklin County. The report said Evans was causing the other occupants of the home to fear for their safety. Officers arrived and removed a woman and three children from the home. 

While officers stood outside the garage of the home attempting to contact with Evans, he fired a shot at an officer. Debris from that shot hit an officer, who received minor injuries. A news release Wednesday from state police did not identify the officer.

Evans barricaded himself in the garage for over three hours as state police negotiators spoke to him. About 11:30 a.m., Evans fired additional shots from the garage, but later exited the garage while holding a gun.

Three troopers with the state police special weapons and tactics team and an officer with the Greensburg Police Department fired shots during the incident. State police said at least one shot hit Evans, who received immediate first aid but died as a result of the injuries.

Batesville is about 40 miles southeast of Indianapolis.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday in Hamilton County, Ohio. The results of the autopsy and the toxicology results were pending Wednesday.