Dignity retained as trading update beats predictions
Delivering its third quarterly trading update of 2016 was Dignity plc (Dignity or the Group), the UK’s only listed funeral related service provider.
The current figures have been driven by the increased number of deaths in the second and third quarters and are slightly ahead of the Board’s expectations. In the third quarter, the underlying operating profits were £1.8 million higher than the same time last year.
11 funeral locations have been acquired by the Group for a £11.3 million aggregate investment. It has also opened nine satellite locations in the period to 23rd September 2016. The Group has also acquired an additional two funeral locations since this date.
The acquisition of the remaining leasehold crematorium location from Funeral Services Limited has also been confirmed by the Group and was finalised in October. For a total consideration value of £43 million, the acquisition of the five crematoria from Funeral Services has now completed.
Since the period end date, there have been no other transactions of significance.
Compared to the levels in 2015, the levels this year have been falling, but have been higher than the expected amount based on trends in the long term. The funeral market share of the Group is however, lower than anticipated given its strength in 2015. Acknowledging these two factors, the Group expects underlying operating profits to be ahead of current market expectations for this year. Predictions for 2017 and even further ahead remain positive.
Commenting on the aims of Dignity was Mike McCollum. The Chief Executive of the provider stated: “Our objective is to lead the funeral sector in professional standards and service. I believe we do this and that we continue to improve. Our clients value this which is why they return to us and recommend us, allowing us to report strong financial results today. Our expectations are that 2016 will be a stronger year than previously expected and remain positive and unchanged for 2017 and beyond.”