Funerals provider Dignity sees profits and revenue increase for first half but warns on "aggressive" competition

 
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The funeral operator has noted "aggressive" pricing in the market (Source: Getty)

Pre-tax profits rose in the six months to 30 June at funeral provider Dignity, as the number of deaths rose.

The figures

Revenue was up seven per cent to £169.8m in the first half.

In the same period, the total number of deaths in the UK rose two per cent to 308,000. The group said in May that the death rate during the first quarter had matched its expectations.

Pre-tax profits came in at £45.3m, up nine per cent.

But shares were trading slightly down today at 2,553p after the company said it faced challenges from the "increasingly competitive" environment.

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Why it's interesting

The group said that while it "chooses to compete on quality and service" it had noted "aggressive" pricing in the funeral and pre-arranged funeral plans market.

Michael Donnelly, an analyst at Panmure Gordon, said that the business was still in a strong position because of its reputation and the role of recommendation in bringing in new customers.

But he noted that the group's digital strategy, due to launch in the second half of the year, would be a helpful development in addressing the tougher competition.

The group has also expanded its physical presence during the period, acquiring 14 funeral locations and one crematorium.

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What the company said

Chief executive Mike McCollum said that expectations for the full year remained unchanged despite the competitive market.

But he added: "We will continue to review the scope of our service offering in the light of changing consumer demands and build on our strong market-leading position."

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