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Disney Heir May Breathe New Life in Cremation Firm

August 27, 2003|Abigail Goldman | Times Staff Writer

An heir to the Disney fortune is trying to bolster urn-ings.

Burbank-based Apogee Cos., a private company controlled by Walt Disney's great-nephew, Roy P. Disney, agreed Tuesday to buy cremation services firm Neptune Society Inc. for $11.5 million plus assumption of debt.

Sherman Oaks-based Neptune, which operates in nine states including California under the names Neptune Society and Trident Society, has been consistently unprofitable. It lost $6.7 million on sales of $11.8 million in 2002.

Although industrywide demand for cremation has been growing, Neptune has been burdened by high debt. The company estimates that it performed just 1% of all U.S. cremations in 2002.

Neptune shares have been very thinly traded. They last fetched 82 cents each on the OTC Bulletin Board.

Representatives for Neptune and Apogee could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

Roy P. Disney is the 46-year-old son of Walt Disney Co. Vice Chairman Roy E. Disney, whose uncle founded the entertainment giant.

A myth has persisted over the years that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen after he died in 1966. But, according to his death certificate, Walt Disney himself was cremated.

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