Preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 25 December 2015

Dignity plc (Dignity or the Group), the UK’s only listed provider of funeral related services, announces its preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 25 December 2015.

Financial highlights 52 week Period ended 25 December 201552 week Period ended 26 December 2014Increase per cent
Revenue (£million) 305.3 268.9 14
Underlying operating profit(a) (£million) 98.7 84.9 16
Underlying profit before tax(a) (£million) 72.2 58.5 23
Underlying earnings per share(b) (pence) 114.8 85.8 34
Cash generated from operations(c) (£million) 125.2 104.4 20
Operating profit (£million) 95.5 82.9 15
Profit/(loss) before tax(d) (£million) 69.0 (67.7) n/a
Basic earnings per share(d) (pence) 115.2 (104.0) n/a
Interim dividend paid in the period(e) (pence) 7.14 6.49 10
Final dividend proposed in the period(f) (pence) 14.31 13.01 10
Return of Cash (£million) - 64.4 n/a
Deaths 588,000 550,000 7

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

(b) Underlying earnings per share is calculated as profit (or loss) on ordinary activities after taxation, before profit (or loss) on sale of fixed assets and external transaction 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 and (in 2014) pension contributions made from the proceeds of debt issues.

(d) Non-cash charges resulting from the refinancing in 2014 led to a reported statutory loss in the comparative period.

(e) Interim dividend represents the interim dividend that was declared and paid in the period out of earnings generated in the same period.

(f) The final dividend in 2015 is the proposed dividend expected to be approved at the annual general meeting on 9 June 2016. The 2014 final dividend is the dividend declared and paid in 2015.

Key points

  • Deaths were seven per cent higher than the comparative period, a rate of change not seen for over 60 years; 
  • Strong operating performance by all three operating divisions;
  • Client satisfaction remained at very high levels, with 99 per cent of families saying we met or exceeded their expectations and 98 per cent saying they would recommend us; 
  • Profits continued to be converted to cash; 
  • The 36 funeral locations acquired from Laurel Funerals in July 2015 have integrated well and have performed in line with the Board’s expectations; 
  • £50 million invested in funeral acquisitions (including Laurel), adding a further 48 funeral locations to the Group’s portfolio; 
  • Three satellite locations opened within the funeral business; 
  • Planning permission granted for two new crematoria due for opening by early 2018; 
  • Another good year of pre-arranged funeral plan sales, with active pre-arranged funeral plans increasing to 374,000 (2014: 348,000); 
  • The Group expects the number of deaths in 2016 to revert to the level seen in 2014; and 
  • Outlook is consistent with the Group view provided throughout 2015.

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity plc commented:

“Our staff have performed tremendously in a year when we had to look after a lot more families than originally anticipated. Our standards remained high, as reflected in the outstanding responses from our client surveys. Our financial performance was very strong as a result, helped by our continued focus on maintaining good cost controls alongside excellent client service and investment in the business.”

For more information

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

Richard Oldworth
Sophie McNulty
Robbie Ceiriog-Hughes
Buchanan +44 (0) 207 466 5000

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