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Sales up at Dignity Funeral Plans.
Dignity Funeral Plans are just part of the UK’s largest provider of funeral-related services. Dignity said a higher number of deaths in the first half of the year helped it deliver a strong performance. Of course, very few of those buying prepaid funeral plans received the no cost independent advice you could receive from us at the Prepaid Funeral Review, but we don’t have the large advertising budget that Dignity do!
Dignity, which owns 616 funeral directors locations and operates 36 crematoria, said estimated deaths in the UK in the six months to June 29 were up 1% at 285,000. The higher level of deaths boosted its funeral operations, although total funerals held in the period dropped slightly to 33,400.
Dignity reported an 8% rise in underlying operating profits to £39.2 million in the period, helped by a 10% rise in funeral profits and a 23% jump in earnings from pre-arranged funeral plans.
The FTSE 250-listed company employs 2,500 staff, and saw a 6% increase in profits in its crematoria division to £12.3 million. The group performed 26,200 cremations, up 800 on previous year, which reflects the increase in the number of crematoria being operated.
Dignity bought eight additional funeral locations in the period, as well nine satellite locations, and closed one site.
Dignity Funeral Plans – 275,000
The number of pre-arranged funeral plans yet to be used, its Dignity Guaranteed Funeral Plan, was 275,000 at the end of the period, compared with 265,000 last year. A net increase of 10,000 plans representing future potential business for the funeral division.
Shares were more than 1% higher after the group unveiled an increase in its interim dividend from 4.87p last year to 5.36p.