Death may be one of life’s two certainties — but profits from selling caskets are not.

That’s the view of a New York hedge fund that on Thursday announced it was shorting a major casket manufacturer because it believes the increasing popularity of cremation will kill its profits.

Matthews International, whose shares have dipped 32 percent over the past year, could see another 65 percent decline, according to Spruce Point Capital.

Matthews, which rings up 40 percent of its revenue from caskets and related items, saw its shares decline 1.1 percent on Thursday, to $51.50.

“We have little reason to trust [Matthews] ability to maintain financial order,” Spruce Point said of the Pittsburgh-based company.

In 2016, 50.2 percent of Americans opted to be cremated, up from 48.5 percent the year before, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, which noted a corresponding decrease in burial costs.

By 2035, the NFDA predicts that 78.8 percent will choose to be cremated.

And although Matthews sells cremation services and urns in addition to caskets, headstones and mausoleums, cremation only costs 10 percent of what a traditional burial costs, Spruce Point said.

Even Matthews acknowledged that the trend toward cremation may undermine its business.

“Such trends may adversely affect the volume of bronze and granite memorialization products and burial caskets sold in the United States,” Matthews warned in a November regulatory filing.

In addition, online memorials have been growing in popularity as a cheap/fast alternative, Spruce Point wrote.

Matthews did not return requests for comment.



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