News Column

Dignity Leaves Overall Expectations Unchanged Despite Quiet Start

May 12, 2014

Samuel Agini

LONDON (Alliance News) - Dignity PLC Monday said its overall expectations for the year are unchanged, even though it is currently assuming there will be fewer deaths in 2014 than in the prior year.

The funeral services provider said its current assumption is that there will be 550,000 deaths in 2014, approximately 2.0% below the prior year and broadly in line with 2012. Dignity said it is on that basis, and given that "average incomes are robust and overheads well controlled," that its overall expectations for the year are unchanged.

Revenue grew to GBP69.1 million in the 13 weeks ended March 28, from GBP67.8 million in the corresponding period a year earlier. Underlying operating profit, which excludes profit or loss on fixed asset sales, external transaction costs and so-called exceptional items, rose by GBP400,000 to GBP25.8 million.

Dignity, which has acquired eight funeral locations and has opened two satellite locations since the start of the year, said the year has, as anticipated, started quietly compared with the strong first quarter performance in 2013.

Dignity said deaths in the first quarter were 7.5% lower than in the same period in 2013, when reported deaths rose by 6.7%.

However, according to Dignity, data from previous years indicates that "large variances" in the number of deaths compared with the prior year at the end of the first quarter "tend to normalise" to within 3.0% by the end of the year.

"As anticipated, the year has started slowly compared to a strong first quarter last year. However, with the exception of the low volumes in the first quarter, the group's businesses are performing well and in line with management's expectations," Chief Executive Mike McCollum said in a statement.

Dignity shares were Monday quoted at 1,413.00 pence, down 1.2%.

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Source: Alliance News

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