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Once seen as recession-proof, the funeral industry is in a death spiral—except for owners willing to adapt to new technologies.
In Botswana, industry leaders such as FSG - commonly known as Lyn’s Funeral Parlour or Kagiso Funeral Parlour are also faced with similar challenges of “less deaths”.
FSG Managing Director, Mike Nikolic admits that in the last 25 years of operations in both Botswana and three other neighbouring countries, the company has, “seen detours, stops and sometimes retracing of steps”.
As part of its strategy to survive the “less deaths” phase, FSG is said to be intending to invest in modern infrastructure and fleet.
“Technology is also driving the business and we are now operating technologically advanced systems on both management and insurance,” said Nikolic.
Currently the company offers amongst others, 24-hour mortuary services, repatriation, cremation, transportation, professional embalming, exhumation and provision of graves in its private cemetery in Gaborone known as Phomolong Memorial Park.
Generally, Nikolic says the funeral services clientele has been going down the last 5 to 10 years due the government’s free supply of Anti Retro Viral (ARVs) drugs for HIV Aids affected members of the community.
Nikolic admitted that both locally and internationally competition is getting tough. Despite this, he is confident that the company will grow from its 60 percent market share in the domestic market in the near future.
As part of its further growth strategy, Nikolic says the undertaker group is considering providing different welfare services to assist the affected families.
At the same time, the Botswana Stock Exchange quoted undertaker further plans to expand in their already existing markets; Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Reports indicate that the business does not have immediate intentions of expanding to other African markets.
The group currently has head count of 360 in its branches across the country.