Dignity profits gain on increased deaths

Listed funeral services provider Dignity today reported higher annual profits following a rise in the number of deaths last year, and said the outlook for 2014 remained “positive”.

The firm, which has its roots in Glasgow, said underlying operating profits grew 13 per cent to £78.4 million in the year to 27 December – its tenth consecutive increase since floating in 2004.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, there were 560,000 deaths in Britain during the period, up from 551,000 a year earlier, and Dignity chief executive Mike McCollum said the firm has an 11.9 per cent share of the funeral market, excluding Northern Ireland.

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He added: “The board remains confident in the group’s prospects and considers its well tested strategy is still appropriate in the current market.

“As expected, 2014 has started quietly, however the board’s expectations for 2014 remain positive and unchanged.”

Shareholders are in line for a final dividend of 11.83p a share on 27 June, an increase of 10 per cent on the previous year’s payout.