Funerals provider Dignity's shares rise as UK death rate matches its expectations

 
Shruti Tripathi Chopra
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Dignity said the number of deaths in the first quarter was higher than the previous year (Source: Getty)

Dignity's shares rose 10 per cent this morning after the funeral care provider said the UK death rate matched its expectations.

In a trading update, Dignity said the number of deaths in the first quarter was higher than the previous year, but lower than in 2015.

Underlying operating profit increased from £31.1m in the first quarter of 2016 to £37.4m in the same period of 2017.

Read more: Dignity shares drop on growth revision

During the first quarter, the group completed the acquisition of a total of 12 funeral locations and one small crematorium for consideration of approximately £20m. It also said "further acquisition activity is expected throughout the year.

At the time of writing, Dignity's shares were up 6.56 per cent to 2,530p.

Mike McCollum, chief executive of Dignity, said: “This has been a strong start to the year, with all parts of the business performing well. The group’s expectations for the full year remain positive and unchanged.”

In March, the funerals provider's shares dropped over 12 per cent after it lowered its medium-term growth rate target for underlying earnings citing increasing competition in each of its markets.

The firm reported pre-tax profits of £71.2m for the year to 31 December 2016, up three per cent from the £69m posted in 2015.

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