Interim results for the 26 week period ended 30 June 2017

Dignity plc (Dignity or the Group), the UK’s only listed provider of funeral related services, announces its unaudited interim results for the 26 week period ended 30 June 2017.

  26 week
30 June
26 week
24 June
per cent
Revenue (£million) 169.8 158.0 7
Underlying operating profit(a) (£million) 59.5 55.6 7
Underlying profit before tax(a) (£million) 46.1 42.4 9
Underlying earnings per
share(b) (pence)
74.1 67.7 9
Cash generated from operations(c) (£million) 61.9 64.6 (4)
Operating profit (£million) 58.7 54.7 7
Profit before tax (£million) 45.3 41.5 9
Basic earnings per share (pence) 72.5 65.9 10
Number of deaths 308,000 302,000 2
Interim dividend (pence) 8.64 7.85 10

Non-GAAP measures

The Board believes that whilst statutory reporting measures provide a useful indication of the financial performance of the Group, additional insight is gained by excluding certain non-recurring or non-trading transactions. These measures are defined as follows:

(a) Underlying profit is calculated as profit excluding profit (or loss) on sale of fixed assets and external transaction costs.

(b) Underlying earnings per share is calculated as profit on ordinary activities after taxation, before profit (or loss) on sale of fixed assets, external transactions costs and exceptional items (all net of tax), divided by the weighted average number of Ordinary Shares in issue in the period.

(c) Cash generated from operations excludes external transaction costs.

Following a very strong start to the year, with the number of deaths seven per cent higher than last year in the first quarter, the half year concluded with the number of deaths two per cent higher than the same period in 2016. The Group’s results for the first half of 2017 were in line with the Board’s expectations with underlying operating profits increasing seven per cent to £59.5 million (2016: £55.6 million).

The Group has acquired 14 funeral locations and one crematorium for an aggregate investment of £23.4 million and has opened seven satellite locations in the period to 30 June 2017. Since this date, the Group has acquired three funeral locations and opened one satellite location.

Work has continued in the period to develop the Group’s digital strategy and brief details are set out in the business and financial review. The Group anticipates incremental costs of up to £1.0 million in 2017 in relation to the implementation of this evolving strategy.

Whilst Dignity chooses to compete on quality and service, the Group has noted some aggressive pricing activity from competitors on both funerals and pre-arranged funeral plans.

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity plc commented:

“The year has started well for the Group, with good operational performance, continued excellent customer survey results and further acquisitions of established funeral businesses. The Group’s expectations for the full year remain unchanged.

As a Board, we remain alert to the strategic challenges facing the Group in a changing and increasingly competitive environment. This is reflected in the ongoing development of our digital strategy and the leadership we have demonstrated in calling for proper regulation of pre-arranged funeral plans. We will continue to review the scope of our service offering in the light of changing consumer demands and build on our strong market-leading position.”

For more information

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive
Steve Whittern, Finance Director
Dignity plc
+44 (0) 207 466 5000
Richard Oldworth
Catriona Flint
+44 (0) 207 466 5000


An analysts’ briefing will be held at 9:00 am this morning at the offices of Buchanan, 107 Cheapside, London, EC2V 6DN.

An audio webcast of this briefing will subsequently be available through the following link: http://vm.buchanan.uk.com/2017/dignity020817/registration.htm.

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