Preliminary results for the 53 week period ended 31 December 2021

Dignity plc (Dignity, the Company or the Group), the only end-of-life provider in the UK that is uniquely positioned to provide all the required elements of a funeral service, announces its preliminary results for the 53 week period ended 31 December 2021.

Financial highlights 53 week period ended
31 December
52 week period ended
25 December
(decrease) per cent
Underlying revenue (£million) 312.0 314.1 (1)
Underlying operating profit (£million) (1) 55.8 60.3 (7)
Underlying profit before tax (£million) (1) 26.8 30.6 (12)
Underlying earnings per share (pence) (1) 42.8 46.4 (8)
Underlying cash generated from operations (£million) (1) 88.3 88.9 (1)
Revenue (£million) 353.7 357.5 (1)
Operating profit (£million) 17.8 15.9 12
Profit/(loss) before tax (£million) 32.0 (19.6)  
Basic earnings/(loss) per share (pence) 24.2 (51.0)  
Cash generated from operations (£million) 68.3 62.7 9
Number of deaths 664,000 663,000 -

(1) Underlying performance measures throughout this announcement for December 2020 have been restated to reflect the application of IFRS 16, Leases. This standard was adopted in 2020 using the modified retrospective adoption which meant 2019 comparatives were not restated. As a result, the Group chose to exclude it from its underlying performance measures reported in 2020 in order to retain comparability. Therefore, the underlying performance measures reported above in both periods includes the application of IFRS 16. See note 1 for further details.

Alternative performance measures (‘APMs’)
The Board believes that whilst statutory reporting measures provide financial performance of the Group under IFRS, APMs are necessary to enable users of the financial statements to fully understand the trading performance and financial position of the Group. The APMs provided are aligned with those used in the day-to-day management of the Group and allow for greater comparability across periods. For this reason, the APMs provided exclude the impact of consolidating the Trusts and the changes which relate to the application of IFRS 15, as well as non-underlying items comprising certain non-recurring and non-trading transactions. Further detail may be found on pages 48 to 53.

Key points

  • 2021, like 2020, was another year heavily impacted by the pandemic with an elevated death rate
  • Underlying operating profit fell seven per cent as a combination of rising costs and lower prices impacted margins
  • New strategy was agreed, and good progress made in implementation
  • Focus groups and insight gathering to develop Dignity’s new Principles; the guiding framework that once embedded will become the organisations new culture
  • Reviewed and repositioned pricing for our at-need services to ensure we offer the best value-for-money locally
  • Inverted the organisation through a new organisational structure with 12 regions; focuses on removing management hierarchy and replacing this with a locally empowered leadership structure
  • Focused programme of work to prepare Dignity for Financial Conduct Authority regulation of the pre-paid funeral plan market (which comes into force July 2022), including submission of our application to the regulator
  • Progress made to invest back into our funeral branches and crematoria; aiming to bring the Group’s property portfolio to a high standard
  • The Board agreed a formal climate commitment, pledging for the Group to be net-zero (across Scope 1 & 2 emissions) by 2038, following an initial sustainability and ESG assessment
  • Progress made to ensure a balanced, Corporate Governance Code compliant, Board composition, with the appointments of John Castagno as new Non-executive Chairman and Graham Ferguson as an independent NED. Kate Davidson and Kartina Tahir Thomson were also welcomed to the Board in 2022
  • In March 2022 we agreed a 12 month waiver to our main financial covenant with noteholders to protect us from a post pandemic drop in the death rate


Gary Channon, Chief Executive of Dignity plc, commented:

“2021 was a year of great change at Dignity as we set out and started implementing the new strategy which at its core promotes a culture focused on serving families and communities in all their end-of-life needs. There isn’t a part of Dignity that hasn’t been affected by the transformation so far as we inverted the whole organisation, empowered those serving clients and organised ourselves in a more collaborative structure.

I would like to call out the hard work, dedication and commitment of all our colleagues who continued to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic whilst coping with the rapid pace of organisational change that Dignity has gone through.

Although there is still much work to do to complete the restructuring, we know what we need to do.”

For further information please contact:

Gary Channon, Chief Executive  
Dean Moore, Interim Chief Financial Officer  
Dignity plc +44 (0)20 7466 5000
Richard Oldworth  
Chris Lane  
Tilly Abraham  
Verity Parker  
Buchanan +44 (0)20 7466 5000
www.buchanan.uk.com dignity@buchanan.uk.com

Dignity’s preliminary results and investor presentation are available at https://www.dignityplc.co.uk/investors/.


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