Q3 Management Statement

Dignity plc (Dignity or the Group), the UK’s only listed provider of funeral related services, announces its Q3 management statement for 2014.

  39 week period ended 26 September 201439 week period ended 27 September 2013Increase per cent
  1. Underlying operating profit is calculated as profit excluding profit (or loss) on sale of fixed assets, external transaction costs and exceptional items.
Revenue (£million) 196.4 190.6 3.0
Underlying operating profit1 (£million) 64.0 60.2 6.3

The number of deaths in the third quarter of 2014 was approximately 129,000 compared to circa 122,000 in the comparative period. Consequently, whilst deaths at the end of June were 7.0 per cent lower than the previous year, deaths after 39 weeks were approximately 3.5 per cent lower than the same period in 2013. The Board’s working assumption of the total number of deaths in 2014 continues to be between 535,000 and 550,000, with the number of deaths after 39 weeks consistent with this assumption, and accordingly the Board’s expectations for the year remain unchanged.

Revenue growth as a result of the number of funerals performed together with robust average incomes have been supported by good cost control. Operating profits therefore increased 6.3 per cent to £64.0 million.

Since the Group’s last results announcement on 30 July 2014, 11 additional funeral locations have been acquired (for an investment of £12.1 million). In the year to date, this brings the total number of funeral locations acquired to 19 (for a total investment of £17.3 million) and new satellite locations opened to two.

Following the end of the period and as previously announced, the Group successfully reset its securitised debt structure, reducing total annual debt service obligations (interest and principal) from circa £40 million per annum to approximately £33 million per annum. Shareholders have approved proposals to return £64.4 million (£1.20 per share) to shareholders and consolidate the shares on an 11 for 12 basis. The new shares started trading on 3 November 2014 and shareholders are due to receive funds in the course of the next week.

Trading since the quarter end continues to be in line with management’s expectations.

There were no other significant transactions in the period to 9 November 2014.

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity commented:

“The Group’s operating performance in the third quarter has been strong, with the Group now showing good operating profit growth year on year. Outstanding customer service and strong operational efficiency continue to underpin our activities. Our financial 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.

For further information please contact:

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

Richard Oldworth
Sophie McNulty
Clare Akhurst
Buchanan Tel: +44 (0)207 466 5000

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