Dignity plc Preliminary results for the 52 week period ended 26 December 2014
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 26 December 2014. (See our Dignity funeral plan review.)
|Financial highlights||52 week Period ended 26 December 2014||52 week Period ended 27 December 2013||Increase per cent|
|Underlying operating profit(a) (£million)||84.9||78.4||8|
|Underlying profit before tax(a) (£million)||58.5||52.9||11|
|Underlying earnings per share(b) (pence)||85.8||72.1||19|
|Cash generated from operations(c) (£million)||104.4||94.2||11|
|Operating profit (£million)||82.9||75.1||10|
|(Loss)/profit before tax (£million)(d)||(67.7)||49.6||n/a|
|Basic earnings per share (pence)(d)||(104.0)||72.8||n/a|
|Interim dividend paid in the period(e, f) (pence)||6.49||–||n/a|
|Final dividend proposed in the period(g) (pence)||13.01||11.83||10|
|Return of Cash (£million)||64.4||61.9||4|
(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 pension contributions made from the proceeds of debt issues.
(d) As previously announced, non-cash charges resulting from the refinancing during the period have led to a reported statutory loss.
(e) The interim dividend represents the interim dividend that was declared and paid in the period out of earnings generated in the same period.
(f) An interim dividend was not paid separately in 2013, but was instead included within the £1.08 Return of Cash per Ordinary Share paid in August 2013.
(g) The final dividend in 2014 is the proposed dividend expected to be approved at the annual general meeting on 11 June 2015. The 2013 final dividend is the dividend declared and paid in 2014.
- Capital structure refinanced with new 35 year investment grade secured debt, reducing annual debt service obligations (principal and interest) from approximately £40 million to approximately £33 million per annum;
- As previously announced, non-cash charges resulting from this refinancing have led to a reported statutory loss;
- £64.4 million of cash returned to shareholders (£1.20 per share) following this refinancing;
- Eleventh consecutive year of operating profit growth since flotation in 2004;
- Strong operating performance by all three operating divisions;
- Profits continue to be converted to cash;
- Customer satisfaction remains 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;
- £24.7 million invested in funeral acquisitions, adding a further 30 funeral locations to the Group’s portfolio;
- Four satellite locations opened within the funeral business;
- Memorial sales remain robust; and
- Another strong year of pre-arranged funeral plan sales, with unfulfilled pre-arranged funeral plans increasing to 348,000.
Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity plc commented:
“The Group has continued to perform strongly, delivering operational performance ahead of consensus estimates. This performance was underpinned by our ongoing commitment to outstanding customer service, further investment in our business and continued tight cost control.
2015 has started strongly and the Board’s expectations for the year remain positive and unchanged.”