Q1 Trading Update

Dignity plc (Dignity or the Group), the UK's only listed provider of funeral related services, announces its trading update for the first quarter of 2017.

  13 week period ended 31 March 2017 13 week period ended 25 March 2016 13 week period ended 27 March 2015 2017 versus 2016 increase
(per cent)
2017 versus 2015 increase/
(per cent)
Revenue (£million) 93.3 81.2 85.5 15 9
Underlying operating profit(£million) 37.4 31.1 35.8 20 4
Number of deaths 167,000 156,000 175,000 7 (5)

1 Underlying profit is calculated as profit excluding profit (or loss) on sale of fixed assets and external transaction costs.
Amounts for 2015 are included in this announcement to provide a more meaningful comparative for 2017 performance following the fluctuations in the number of deaths in the first quarters in recent years.

As anticipated at the time of the Group's 2016 preliminary results published in March, the number of deaths in the first quarter was higher than the previous year, but lower than in 2015. Data from previous years indicates that large variances in the number of deaths at the end of the first quarter tend to normalise by the end of the year. The Group's current assumption continues to be that the number of deaths in 2017 will be lower than 2016 (which was a 53 week period).

Average incomes continue to be robust and overheads well controlled. In addition, the Group's pre-arranged funeral plan business is trading well, with sales significantly up in the quarter compared to 2016.

The Group has continued to develop its digital services strategy, with various developments underway. Further commentary will be provided as part of the Group’s interim results, due to be released on Wednesday 2 August 2017.

Acquisition activity in the period has continued, with the Group completing the acquisition of a total of 12 funeral locations and one small crematorium for consideration of approximately £20 million. This includes one funeral location acquired after 31 March, but prior to the date of this announcement. Further acquisition activity is expected throughout the year. In addition, the Group has opened three satellite locations in the period, submitted a planning application for a new crematorium and is still awaiting a decision on another crematorium planning application.

There have been no other significant transactions since the period end date.

Taking these factors into account, the Group's overall expectations for the year are positive and remain unchanged.


Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity commented:

"This has been a strong start to the year, with all parts of the business performing well. The Group’s expectations for the full year remain positive and unchanged."

Dignity (2002) Limited (the holding company of those companies subject to the securitisation) has today issued reports to the Rating Agencies (Fitch and Standard & Poor's), the Security Trustee and the holders of the Secured Notes issued in October 2014 in connection with the securitisation.

Copies of these reports are available at http://www.dignityfuneralsplc.co.uk.

For further information please contact:

Dignity plc                                                                    +44 (0) 121 354 1557 
Mike McCollum, Chief Executive
Steve Whittern, Finance Director

Buchanan                                                                     +44 (0) 207 466 5000
Richard Oldworth 
Catriona Flint

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