Hillenbrand (NYSE: HI) revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012 grew 10% to $254 million compared to the same quarter last year. This represents 11% revenue growth on a constant currency basis. This was driven by Process Equipment Group revenue growth of 33% to $102 million (10% organic growth). The group's order backlog was $121 million, representing a sequential decline from $140 million in the third quarter, but consistent with prior year backlog of $119 million. As in the prior year, several large orders shipped during the quarter, reducing the backlog balance.
Due to an estimated 3% decrease in North American burials, Batesville revenue dropped 2% to $152 million. The decline in burials was driven by an estimated 1% decrease in North American deaths compared to the same quarter last year, as well as an increase in the rate at which consumers opted for cremation.
Consolidated gross profit margin in the fourth quarter was 39.5% compared to 39.2% in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, which excludes restructuring charges and inventory step-up charges related to the Rotex acquisition, the consolidated gross profit margin was 39.8%, a 60 basis point decline over the prior year. The decrease was largely driven by volume declines at the Batesville business platform.
Net income for the fourth quarter increased 6% over the prior year to $25 million, with diluted EPS up 5% to $0.40. On an adjusted basis, net income increased 6% to $31 million and diluted EPS increased 4% to $0.50, as continued strong growth from the Process Equipment Group was offset in part by lower Batesville volumes. EBITDA was $47 million, a 6% increase from the prior year. On an adjusted basis, EBITDA increased by 8% to $57 million. Hillenbrand once again delivered strong cash flow from operations, reporting $29 million compared to $34 million last year.
"We continue to be pleased with the outstanding performance of the Process Equipment Group and believe that it illustrates both the importance, and the success, of our growth strategy," said Kenneth A. Camp, president and chief executive officer of Hillenbrand. "We have been able to offset the challenges Batesville has faced in 2012 by leveraging our consistent strong cash flow from both business platforms to grow our business organically and through acquisitions. The recently announced acquisition of Coperion marks a critical and significant strategic step forward for our company and our shareholders."