Dignity Funeral Profits Boosted by Trust Fund

Dignity Funeral Interim Management Statement.

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Dignity plc, the UK’s only listed provider of funeral services, announces its third quarter interim management statement for 2012.

39 week period ended 28 September 201239 week period ended 30 September 2011Increase per cent
Revenue (£million)169.4155.88.7
Underlying operating profit* (£million)53.448.410.3

*Underlying operating profit is calculated as operating profit excluding profit on sale of fixed assets and external transaction costs.

Since the Group’s last results announcement on 31 July 2012, 10 funeral locations have been acquired (for an investment of £5.6m) and nine new satellite locations have been opened. This brings the total number of funeral locations acquired to 18 (for a total investment of £10.8m) and new satellite locations opened to 18 since the start of the year.

Pre-arranged funeral plan sales continue to be robust and operating profit is ahead of the prior year. We expect the pre-arranged funeral business to continue to make progress next year. The trust funds should remain fully funded despite historically low bond yields. However, any improvement in marketing profit in 2013 may be offset by a reduction in or cancellation of recoveries of surplus from the trusts. Such recoveries have been £1.5m in each of the last six years.

Trading since 28 September 2012 continues to be in line with management’s expectations.

The Group opened its crematorium in Essex in the third quarter of 2012. This means the Group’s crematorium portfolio consists of 37 locations compared to 35 at the end of 2011.

There were no other significant transactions in the period to 11 November 2012.

Mike McCollum, Chief Executive of Dignity plc commented:

“This is a very strong performance. We continue to increase the number of funeral and crematoria locations we operate. Customer service remains central to what we do and remains at the very high levels seen throughout recent years.

Pre-arranged funeral plan sales continue to develop and I am pleased with the positive contribution they are making to the future of this business.

Our outlook for 2012 remains positive and our overall expectations for 2013 remain unchanged.”

Forward-looking statements
Certain statements in this interim management statement are forward-looking. Although the Board believes that the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that these expectations will prove to have been correct. Because these statements involve risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

In accordance with the terms of the securitisation carried out in April 2003, Dignity (2002) Limited (the holding company of those companies subject to the securitisation) has today issued reports to the Rating Agencies (Fitch and Standard & Poor’s), the Security Trustee and the holders of notes issued in connection with the securitisation confirming compliance with the covenants established under the securitisation. Copies of these reports are available